Big boys do(n’t) cry
The emotional tides of T1.
More hormonal than a teenage girl on her first period. More tears and screams than an episode of Jeremy Kyle. Throw in a whole load of love and a heap of lip kisses all before 8am and I sometimes wonder if I’m harbouring a next gen schizophrenic.
T1 has recently turned 4. In so many ways he is mature for his age. He can write his name. He is a big brother to two younger siblings. He is an expert on a Nintendo. A professional cheat at top trumps and will leap from anything he can climb up without blinking but articulating his feelings is something he’s always struggled with.
‘I’m bored’ sometimes means ‘I’m tired’. ‘I’m hungry’ often means ‘I’m bored’. ‘I’m sad’ can mean ‘I’m embarrassed’ and ‘I’m angry’ usually means ‘I’m sad’. ‘I feel sick’ is something we think now means ‘I feel anxious’ most of the time rather than being poorly.
He is an emotional soul despite his tough exterior and is affected, certainly at least subconsciously, by change. His go to, at home, is to not really eat. I think he’s worked out that in a very busy house it quickly brings the focus back to him. I’ll go more into the eating in another blog.
T1 was an only child until age two and then gained a sister and brother within the year. We moved house, areas and, subsequently, nurseries. He had daddy pretty much on tap last summer – gardening leave – and he LOVED it.
With daddy at home over summer…
…we made sure we took it in turns to spend one to one time with T1 whilst the other had the two babies. T1 absolutely adored this and when daddy started his new job in September it was tough, as he now isn’t home Monday through Friday and it’s much harder for me to divide my attention between the three children on my own and I feel T1 has struggled the most with this. He then turned four in the November and just a few nights ago he was crying that he didn’t want to be four anymore and I think I know why and it hurts my heart to know that he’s having a hard time adjusting.
Even before T1 turned two he was a feisty, boisterous, typical ‘boy’s boy’. He’d shout, kick and punch like many little boys do with no idea how to manage his emotions. He was advanced mentally but his communication took a while to catch up. He struggled to voice how he was feeling and responded physically instead.
The literal day he turned three it turned to tears. Things that previously had him lashing out in frustration saw him in floods of tears and although, at four, he can now voice what he THINKS he is feeling it’s a huge learning curve linking those thoughts and emotions to feelings and being able to articulate them to his grown ups.
Even now as a fully grown adult I still find it hard to express myself in speech so I appreciate the need to be patient with him.
Sometimes the tiniest things can set him off and he can appear to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. I am, however, so thankful for this age. Our problems include only using spoons shaped as ‘O’s’ or having a blanket behind his back and over his knees when he eats. Oh and sometimes no one is allowed to look at him for a while 😂. I appreciate these are little things to us but in his world they are big.
Distraction or humour – a wiggle of my bum, a silly joke about poo or a ‘OMG I THINK I JUST HEARD A TREX IN THE LIVING ROOM’ can often be enough to shift the mood but other times it can go on for what feels like hours 🤭.
I know the time will come when juice will be beer, a scooter will be a car and my fears will be for violence and drugs. I’ll long to wish for worries about bedtime books and spoons again and to ‘fix’ it with a spin high around your room secretly seeing you try to stifle a giggle amidst your tantrum. So however hard I find your roller coaster of emotions right now I’m secretly so grateful for where we are.