"All shall be done. But it may be harder than you think." ~C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
We have been doing so much better with sharing. But for some reason, all he wants to play with this morning is whatever is currently in his brother's hand. He's fixated on these blocks... these blocks that really are his brother's.
Richie was here first, started playing first, and all the other reasons that make walking up and insisting that he give it all up for his brother not okay. That and the simple fact that Ryan will have to leave this house sometime and be around other kids.
Right now, Richie adores his brother. He always has. He asks Ryan to play a lot. Usually Ryan either hears and doesn't understand the need to respond or how, or maybe he just doesn't want to play with Richie unless it's on his terms. It's hard to have Richie walk up to me crying because Ryan decided he wanted whatever was in Richie's hand, or decided it was time to play on Ryan's terms, which often involves playing more roughly than Richie's thin, spider-monkey like four year old body can take.
Then there are the times when Richie walks up to me, gazing with those big blue eyes, asking why brother won't play with him.
I want to play with Ryan. Mommy, will you tell Ryan to play with me? I just want to play with him.
In other words, "Fix it, mommy. Fix it."
And I want to.
I do my best to explain, but I don't know what is helping and what is just the Charlie Brown teacher's voice, just making noise again.
A clanging cymbal.
I've tried this morning... all morning... to defend fairness. To help teach the lessons that they need to learn. For Richie, this time, he gets to play with his toy. For ours this morning, Ryan beat his chest, slapped his ears, groaned, yelled, and shouted "Ryan's turn! Ryan's turn when Richie's done!" He tried to take the toy several times. Every time I intervened to set a time to share, the screaming and fussing and hitting started all over.
He can't do this at school. Oh dear Lord, help him next week.
I've done very little in the way of cleaning house or readying for Richie's upcoming trip for surgery and tubes today. Most of my energy was spent defending. Teaching. Training. Holding a line. Refusing to back down.
Sound like a fight yet?
Sure feels like one.
After hours of this mess, Ryan comes up and lays his chin on my shoulder and says, 'You can have track master for your birthday, mommy." Obviously, he's calmed and suddenly over it.
I explain again as gently as I can that we use a different kind of tracks... for what feels like the hundredth time... and he's mad all over again.
Folks, I am not going to lie to him to make him happy. I've become quite creative with "no", but sometimes no is the answer. And if he doesn't hear it here, he won't be able to take it anywhere else.
Screaming is not currency in our home. Misbehavior is not rewarded. Honestly, if you give him what he wants just because he's screaming, it does no good. Screaming continues. It switches to something else. I won't say I've never tried it. I did a long, long time ago, and the though that handing him whatever he is screaming for will stop the upset is absurd. There's something behind all this.
He knows now. I told him that school is next week. I told him who his teacher is, and I think that made him happy! I really do! He knows who she is, and seemed happy to hear that he gets to be in her class. I'm happy because I know she's a fabulous teacher, very organized and seasoned, and runs a tight ship. But more will be expected of him this year. That's good! It really is! But a challenge is a challenge. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous for him.
But he knows a change is coming. He's enjoyed his summer schedule. And I have enjoyed him, and sure hate to see him be gone so much during the day.
I know he'll be fine. I know the academics are something he will handle, although measuring his knowledge is next to impossible. It's the swings.
Yes, the swings.
Last year, he had to have a swing on the playground. If he didn't get one, it was meltdown city. Right after mentioning to him who his teacher was, he said, "You will get to go on big swings!"
So as I watch him half (yes, just half) melt down over getting the Thomas Mega Block train for three hours, my first instinct is panic.
But as we've learned in the past week or so, I'm trying not to do that. Really trying. So I take a deep breath, remember the sovereignty of God, and try to work through the current issue. He who keeps the stars in place and the planets from colliding can surely handle the first grade.
The part that people tend to miss when I say things like that is the fact that it may not be easy. It likely won't be easy. But whatever happens, we can find rest and assurance in the knowledge that someone is in control, and is sure isn't me. I prefer not a false hope doctrine that promises an easy road with no bumps, hills, or turns, but a promise that whatever happens, we are held. The road may be bumpy and twisty, but it is God-filtered.
We do our best. We slog through the days when nothing seems to be okay in his sweet little anxiety-riddled head, and try to help bridge the gap between he and the rest of the world. And we go to bed every night knowing that where our ability ends, grace and the Lord's provision fills.
Thanks be to God.