A few months back, I had an interesting realization that for so long I had hoped for my clingy, mommy-loving boys to set me free and not want to be held so much. Well, at some point that happened, it just took me awhile to realize we had reached that point and were not going back. Now we are experiencing some of that loud, rambunctious boy stage I had thought would arrive much sooner. And, as you can imagine, I have a greater appreciation for the mommy-hold-me stage now that I’m not stuck in it. But, the independence they’re displaying has allowed us to see their personalities emerge even more.
Here’s what’s going on for our three boys:
Thomas has demonstrated perseverance in some nice ways. He worked on an art project at school for 45 minutes! He often does the same thing at home. He takes great pride in his work, especially if it involves art and creating. He also thinks of others and wants to send them his art and have it displayed. Relationships continue to be important to Thomas. He likes to consider his role in things, whether it be getting others to laugh or pointing out the behaviors of others (aka “tattling”). I’ve also seen him give in to another person’s needs or desires, which displays his empathy. Unless he is engrossed in a specific project, he tends to be wherever the action is. Thomas also likes to be at the center of conversations. It’s harder for him to share conversation time than it is toys and objects. It relates to his pattern of unrestrained expressiveness. He is physical, too. He likes to express himself with hugs and affection (and foot stomping!) and he also likes aggressive, wrestling-type play. Yet, Thomas and Ellie play “baby” a lot, which leads Thomas to want to dress like a baby, eat like a baby, and wonder about how a baby would act.
Jack has turned into my little buddy. He’s developed a pattern of whining when he cannot get my attention and asking me to do things for him that he can do himself. There are some things we need to work on in this department, but also I realized my presence seems to calm some social discomfort he experiences. He doesn’t particularly like to be in a group with others, but I don’t think he wants to necessarily be alone, either. He wants my company a lot. I think I am safe to him, whereas his siblings and friends are not predictable or reliable. On a regular basis, he has been telling me that he doesn’t want to go to school. He cannot tell me why, but I think the environment stretches him out of his comfort zone. I feel torn each time between sending him no matter what and wanting to keep him home with me indefinitely. Because Jack is a child that hides his emotions, including his happiness, I keep searching for that one thing that will make him happy without fail. My prayer for Jack is that he will gain confidence. He’s a smart, sweet boy. He simply doesn’t see himself with the maturity and capability that he truly possesses. My favorite moments with Jack, recently, have been when he hugs me at night. He’s not a naturally affectionate child. But, when he tells me goodnight, he squeezes me so tightly. It’s a very tender moment. His obsession these days is building structures for parking, displaying, or organizing his cars. His affinity for order and lining things up is unchanging. Yet, it’s good to see he can find some creative ways to expand his play within his preferences.
James is one goofy kid. His mysteriousness to me only increases with each day. He can say profound things, be incredibly sweet and thoughtful, be wild and crazy, yell and scream with stubbornness, and fall and noticeably injure himself all within one hour. I’ve learned to be grateful for each good moment and hold on to the hope that the negative ones will quickly pass. About the only predictable thing is his love for sports. He amazes us how quickly he takes to baseball, basketball, football, and soccer and can demonstrate good form and skill without much coaching. If only he had a constant companion who wanted to play these things with him, I think he’d be content at all times. James continues to do well in his own room and loves to entertain himself with books. He wouldn’t do this while rooming with his brothers, so I enjoy seeing him entertain himself. It’s greatly improved my relationship with him now that his sleeping habits (or lack their of) are not interfering with the entire household’s. He and I enjoy sweet moments in the morning when he gets up before the others and he tells me a story or asks a thoughtful question. It sets our day together with the right tone.
We started a “job jar” a few weeks ago where each child selects a job to be assigned for a given week. These are tasks beyond their chores or personal responsibility-type jobs. These are extras that serve me and the greater household. James takes great pride in his duty and he did his table-washing job with great thoroughness and patience, which surprises me since he’s not ordinarily very obedient or interested in following directions. Since he can be primarily interested in himself (after all, he’s three!), it’s nice to give him an outlet for serving and being considerate of others.