If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that Bennett was, ahem, an interesting, shall we say, 2 and 3-year-old. Even the beginning of 4 was a bit rocky.
But as I’ve thought back on the last six months or so, I can’t help but think, thank God, that all was a stage! An incredibly long, difficult stage, but one that has lead us to the current stage, which may be my favorite ever with him, simply because it involves very little screaming, crying, time outs, hitting and occupational therapy-type issues. And that this absolutely amazing little human being is emerging from his trying past.
I’ve said before that Bennett is intense…not in a bipolar way, but he definitely puts his whole heart into whatever he’s doing, be it playing a game on the Wii, drawing a picture, or trying to beat up his older brother. Intensity, though, also means a really sensitive heart and more recently, feelings that bubble to the surface quicker than they used to, which is taking me by surprise regularly these days.
Something happened last Friday that made so proud that I had to write it down here. I’m sure other parents can relate; when you have a parenting success, it’s good to record it. Because pretty soon, your kid is going to do something crazy again that will make you want to pull your hair out, and it’s sure nice to be able to come back and read something like I’m about to write.
I won’t go into the details, but Bennett had had a rough couple of days at school last week. I think he misunderstood what a teacher expected of him (hello, this is preschool, honey…they expect you not to pee your pants or pick your nose or run out of the classroom…there are very few instructional/traditionally “educational” expectations, which is how I like it), and it lead to some tears, which is so out of character for him in regards to school that I can’t even explain it. So I was just really happy to pick him up from school on Friday and have him back with me. He got in the car with a big grin on his face and said he’d had a good day at school.
We chatted on the way home like we always do, and towards the end of our drive, he told me that only he and his good buddy Ryder still hadn’t had a turn to take Clifford home for the weekend. His class has a stuffed Clifford dog that spends the weekend with each child, and then the student and his parents write up a little story about what Clifford did while visiting your home. It’s a big deal to the 4-year-old set; every Friday when he doesn’t get to bring Clifford home, there’s a bummed out comment about how maybe it’ll be his turn next time. So I said, “Well, it won’t be long then, and you’ll get to bring Clifford home for a visit!” His response?
“I hope Ryder gets to bring him home next. I know he really wants to, and I can be last.”
(That sound you heard was me wrecking the van into a mailbox.)
(Just kidding. I didn’t really wreck. But remind me to tell you about the time I backed into a parked car when pulling out of our driveway. Good times.)
I pulled into the garage, demanded nicely that he get out of his carseat and climb up to the front with me, where I could hug him while I cried (my emotions were bubbling to the surface quickly on Friday, too). I mean, clearly, he’s only four; this selfless attitude is highly unlikely to carry over into all aspects of his life yet. That very afternoon he had to be forced to share his bouncy ball with Jack Henry. But these little glimpses of good character remind me of the Mark Twain quote, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Thinking back to today will help get me through what I know lies ahead.