This week kicked off Spring Break at our house. And like most stay-at-home parents, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with school vacations. On the one hand, it’s lovely to relax in the mornings, get out from the burden of (most) scheduling, and be able to lie in bed in the morning snuggling before going out to make pancakes together (okay, that’s a particularly good morning, but still).
On the other hand….What the heck am I supposed to do with both of them 24/7 for nine days??? These are the times, historically, where the whining tends to kick into full, they irritate each other (okay, and me), are constantly underfoot, and have full-scale blow-ups when they’re outside of their comfortably-full-yet-scheduled days.
Sunday was, evidently, the day it sank in. Our morning started with a seemingly unending onslaught of whining and complaining by our son. It felt like he’d no sooner get over some perceived disappointment or slight when he’d be flying off the handle and into the next one. By the time breakfast was over (no pancakes today!), I was already exhausted. I looked at the clock and thought, Oh, church is going to be super fun (can you hear the sarcasm?). And I found myself taking several deep breaths to not start yelling back.
And then…he surprised me. In the best possible way. He picked his head up off of his arms, heaved a heavy sigh, and said, “Mommy, I’m feeling blue today.”
“I’m sorry, honey,” I said after another deep breath. “Do you want help feeling better, or do you need to be blue for a while?”
Another heavy sigh. “I need to be blue for a while.” Pause as he took a couple of steps, then turned back and said, “Actually, I’m gonna draw my feelings. Artists do that all the time you know.”
He then proceeded to go to the living room, get out pen and paper, and draw out all his different feelings. He started with sad, and that was the largest (as you can see), but then he moved on to a whole host of other feelings. “Grossed-out” was one that caused a great deal of giggling between him and his sister, and I must admit, “Calm” was my personal favorite.
I won’t say that church was a breeze, because it wasn’t like his ability to sit and do this magically changed his whole outlook. We had some challenges. BUT after we got back home, somehow he and his sister were both able to stay inside on a rainy day and spend over three hours alternately drawing and building with blocks together. This was a huge gift to me, given how the day had started! As I sat in the office catching up on some work, I started reflecting on how the day had gone. And I realized that while I had had a whole host of feelings throughout the day as well, my biggest one was, most definitely, “Pleased.”
Telling Your Brain the Truth (or, I Guess They DO Listen!)