Sunday, January 27, 2008

My little one has found her way through a crack

It doesn't matter how hard we try. There are simply times when some moms look up and realize that their youngest/younger children have slowly ootched between the cracks and are suffering a little bit throughout the days.

Even when you're home with them.

Sometimes, especially when you homeschool.

For me, I have been reminded through the blatant disobedience and meltdown of a four-year-old, that is trying so very hard to keep up with her older siblings. She has over stimulated herself some days, lost a little sleep here and there, and found herself completely at wits end other times. Today was totally fine, until about 4:00 - then everything crumbled.

I lost it. She lost it. I was using my beautiful Love & Logic language, yet my tone was really sarcastic and snippy (thus, defeating the ENTIRE approach and ability to help my child think for herself and regain control). With all of the parenting skills I have under my belt ... well, it was the culmination of letting it all slip.

So, as I stood in her room, looking at this puffy-eyed, teary, sniffling child who wanted to rule the world instead of pick up her baby dolls ... I sat down. I asked her to join me. We talked and hugged. We talked about how tired she was, and how we all tend to make poor choices when we're tired. She cried some more. We hugged some more.

Then, I dropped off the older two kids at church and brought my youngest back home with me. We skipped church. We spent the evening hanging out on the couch, while I did her hair ... just as slowly, gingerly and lovingly as I possibly could. I rarely "ouch" her anymore, but I was determined not to do it tonight. We cuddled - a lot. We talked a lot. Then she got on her p.j.'s and went to bed really, really early.

I am now sitting here organizing some activities for the week ... for her. I have let her slip between the cracks. I get her "covered," but it has been a giant Mommy-Moment this week where I've had to face the fact that she needs a bit more right now. So, I'm reorganizing our week - around the four-year-old. I'm finding ways to incorporate her more into what the older two will be doing (MUCH more purposefully), yet helping her find ways to celebrate being a preschooler. She has fallen out of love with where she is in her short little life journey. I'm hoping to reignite that love affair.


Grace, Every Day said...

You are a good mom.

That extra attention goes a long way in the reordering of stress into something manageable - at ANY age. It never ends, Christine. Just two nights ago I spent an hour with my 17-year old snuggled close to me while she talked through all her junk. I didn't have much to say - just listened and gave her the time and affirming touch that she needed.

Thanks for reminding me how much it matters.

Good job, girl...

Midnite Scrapper said...

I think all of your children are beautiful - I've watched some of your video clips and I love how honest they are and real even when you record them. Mind tend to freeze up, but maybe it's because I don't video tape them that often. Anyway, thank you for this reminder. I also educate my children at home and we are a pastoral family. Sometimes one of them will get shuffled along and I forget to notice until one has a meltdown. I will be more observant this week. Thanks Christine. I'm glad this was posted on a Monday.

The Shan said...

This happens with my five year old quite a bit. I have to really be careful when I'm feeling hormonal because he seems to notice when I don't want to deal with his shenanigans and it makes them WORSE.
We had to reevaluate his activity level after Christmas and really crank the bedtime back as well because he wasn't enjoying us or we him. No more AWANA(wed. night), lots of "special him" time and sleep seem to be helping our boy be a better preschooler.
I think you do a great job with your kids as well. I like how you're always trying to improve your own behavior and not just that of the little darlings.

Oh, Christine, speaking of self improvement, I have the makings of a blog now. Not real cool or interesting yet but it's a start. It's linked in my profile :) I want to put you on my blogroll when I learn how to make on of 'em. (novice grin)

Cheri said...

Sometimes it's those mommying moments that reveal the most. How awesome for the both of you. I have a two year old that is experiencing some growing pains of her own and we have to readjust around here some too.

Sara said...

We can only fix our problems when we gentily admit them. This made my heart smile.

Summer said...

You are such an awesome mom.

Anna said...

I'm so glad to read this. The 3yo and I are having a rough time this week. She's so weepy! It's been a trying month, and she's the one who's old enough to not watch constantly, but not old enough to be on her own so much.
Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone.

Mary said...

Thanks this really made me think about how I acted when my Girlygirl breaks down. Maybe she just needs more of mommy.

MaryBeth said...

I just found your blog from BlogHer.... so glad I did. This post really struck a chord with me. My almost 3 year old is the one who's constantly being swept into the cracks. I also have 17 month old triplets who demand much more attention and time than she does, and lately things have been somewhat teary on the 3 year old front. Thanks for the idea of taking some special time with just her! Don't know why I hadn't thought of that... We also just began using L&L- good stuff!!