Monday, July 30, 2018

Monsters!



Are coming! My boys love to herald the advance of monsters from which we should all hide. Their favourite hiding spot is to stop and stand anywhere and burst out laughing, albeit sometimes they hide behind doors and under their bed covers.

They boys also love to simply run. Ready, steady, GO! They race each other in the park and in our hallway. 

The other night, M won his first race against his elder brother. L took this as a grand offense. He convulsed in a cascade of tears. M looked at L in surprise, proud that he had won for the first time. “I won!” M shouted triumphantly. We cheered. L erupted in tears. M then cautiously approached his brother and related his victory anew with a sombre tone, “I won L, I won”. Through undulating ululations, L described his feeling of “being so sad” that he didn’t not “come first”. 
L has trouble not coming first or getting answers incorrect. I’m trying to work with him through this, as I understand this can be a grave handicap. I’ve already noticed that if he thinks he cannot do something, he would rather not try then get it incorrect (for instance, he won’t attempt to mould a stegosaurus, understanding it’s too “tricky” for him and demands I do it, I would prefer he tries). I have not yet come up with a method to relate to L that winning and being correct is as important as trying (after all perfect is the enemy of good as some say). 

I have however come up with a way to calm L down. As in the other night, when he was riven with regret that he didn’t win, I ask him to imagine a beach, the waves flowing onto the sand and out back to sea. I had asked L to close his eyes, but he refused. He imagine it well enough with his eyes open. I asked him to breathe in with the waves flowing in, and breath out with the waves that flowed back to sea. This calmed him down a bit but he still continued to cry. I asked him to imagine what made him so triste as the waves advanced on the sand and he did, becoming visibly more upset. I then asked him to see his sadness flow away far into the sea as he breathed out and the waves took it away. After a few breathes in and out, L was calm. I asked him to wave to his sadness, which was still advancing to the middle of the Pacific, far, far, away. We both waved good-bye to his departing sadness. L then smiled and hugged me. “Thank you ma for taking my sadness away” he whispered. While I tweaked it a tad, waving goodbye to the sadness, I can’t take credit for this exercise. I read this in a book on mindfulness parenting, but unfortunately I forget the author (it was by a doctor). It really works!


M had his second year check up last week and loved being at the doctor as we had been reading about how Daniel Tiger (whom the boys love) went to the doctor. Now when M falls, he runs up to me and says “mama, kiss, kiss” pointing at his boo-boo and then my hypochondriac, not satisfied that his mother’s kiss was the cure, demands, “I need a check up”. 

The other day, we were eating chips, and L exclaimed, “wow! My chip is the shape of Australia!” Indeed it was. Both boys are excited to go to Australia. Luca is also really excited to explore Asia, and above all, Japan. So are we! They are also excited to get on a plane and fly to Europe in a few days. Recently, Luca understood, in a rudimentary way, thrust and lift for the first time and why planes need a runway. We discussed why helicopters don’t. He is fascinated by how things work and asks me questions now that I don’t know. “But why don’t you know?” is an exasperated retort I hear too often. I tell him we really don’t know anything except that we don’t know anything, which bothers him to no end - "but, why, ma, why?"

The big news is that M is now 2! He was very specific with his wishes. He sent us marching orders for a decadent breakfast of strawberry chocolate pancakes for brekkie, which his father dutifully made, a grilled cheese for lunch (which his father also dutifully made), to go the beach (where in true SF style we watched the beautiful bay cuddling up and zipping up our hoodies, turning away from the blasting wind- my kids are growing up thinking the beach is a cold, windy place and that swimming is something you do in a pool) and foremost, to ride the cable car. Rather than wait in line with the tourists at the first stop, we hiked up the hill and took a near empty cable car down 3 stops, which was sufficient time for the boys' adventure (L was also excited about riding the cable car and put it on his birthday list, reminding me that it was coming up). The driver was nice enough to allow both boys to ring the bell, which delighted them immeasurably. Best of all, a parade extended our experience by stopping the car mid-hill. Everyone else got off in a gruff, but we stayed and the boys got to run around the still cable car, exploring it. L did get impatient towards the end and asked, with an exasperate sigh and a furrowed brow, "mama, don't they know you walk only on the street?" I decided it was a suitable occasion to discuss permits and the First Amendment but the boys' attention was diverted by the colourful banners of the parade (luckily L's reading skills are not sufficient to read language respecting human rights abuse and to him it looked like a big party). 

M's latest friend is the younger sister of one of L's best mates from preschool. M is very fond of her (she is about 5 months younger) and after seeing her, as opposed to his other friends, proudly exclaims with an explosive smile, to all and sundry that C "held his hand". Ah, young love.

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