“Calm Down and Pay Attention”

Poor Ezra has been having a rough few days. Last Thursday Jay’s mother, sister and twin nephews came up and spent the night. He had a blast. It was basically a surprise sleep-over for him. They were even allowed to watch part of a movie after lights out. It was a glorious suspension of rigid bedtime rules. He was thrilled.

That started the downfall.

Ezra’s father continued it by (over) filling his weekend with, in addition to t-ball, hiking, visiting friends, playground (which included a nasty – literally, he fell into the mud – fall off a merry-go-round). He was playing to his heart’s content. He was happy and active…
He got to bed late 4 out of 6 nights.

This is a recipe for disaster for Ezra. And it is taking its toll.

He is in a really bad mood. Sometimes. Other times he is breathtakingly adorable, oozing a sweetness and loving nature that shows how kind he truly is.

But those deep emotions run the gamut for Ezra and he has quite a temper. Teaching him to control it is going to be a challenge.

The problem for me is that Ezra is struggling with emotions, concepts and communication. And these are a big deal. Not to mention that his efforts to deal with these big things can be comical and interesting in an absolutely adorable way.

But he can be a defiant little shit child when he is struggling with these things and that is not funny at all. It is maddening.

His latest thing is to tell me, “I not talking to you anymore!”

The vehemence with which he tells me this removes any doubt whether (i) he means what he says and (ii)  is he fully aware of how mean it sounds – he kinda means it that way. He also tells me over and over – talking to me by announcing that he is most certainly NOT talking to me.

I am trying to remove the stressors that contribute to his meltdowns – get him to bed earlier, allow him time to rest and heal up from all his bumps and bruises, feed him well so he is not hungry or on a sugar high in addition to all the other challenges and (try) to deal with him calmly and rationally.

Especially when he isn’t.

Therein lies the problem.

It requires me to stop and think like him. To get inside that little head and find a way to talk to him and explain the situation to him. And get him to understand the appropriate and acceptable way of dealing with the situation. In a way he can not only understand, but also in a way he will accept and try to implement.

There is a lot of bargaining. I try and make sure it is not done by compromising my expectations, but instead by showing him how acting appropriately is beneficial to him, both practically and emotionally.
[Do what you NEED to do first, then you can do what you WANT to do.  If you walk to the car and get on your seatbelt first, it will be easier for you to figure out how to turn your Bumblebee transformer back into a car rather than try and do it WHILE you are walking to the car. If you wait until you get to the car to do it, you will walk faster (which will make Mommy happier) and you will have an easier time putting Bumblebee together when you can focus on what you are doing. But, not doing that and getting too frustrated does NOT mean it is ok to lose your temper and throw Bumblebee across the car.]

So I find myself saying, “Calm down and pay attention.”

Over and over and over again for an hour and a half every morning.

But you know the even more frustrating thing about all this?

It means I have to watch myself. I have to “Calm down and pay attention.” Because if I cannot do it, then exactly how am I going to be able to teach a four-year-old little boy with a lot of conflicting emotions how to do it? Yeah, that is the sucky flip-side of parenting – the responsibility part.

The living example part. Even on the small thngs. 

Just another way in which I have to grow up so I can raise good kids. Not my favorite part of parenting, but it is a requirement – at least for me, anyway.

Some of you may be all grown up already. But I don’t think that would be near as much fun. 


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