Benjamin is a little bit of a challenge. He can go from super sweet, extra lovey and wonderful to mean, aggressive and screaming in 2.3 seconds. I used to worry that he was extra aggressive - that something more was going on with him. I even called Dr. Ray, a Catholic family psychologist, who sort of laughed at my fears. Ben used to be a biter, the kind that went for blood. Scary when you are the victim! Honestly, the kid is three years old, and we were able to "love" away most, probably 90% of his bad behaviors. We just loved him, showered him with attention, snuggled him. Explained to him that he was hurting people, and yes, we did show him how bad it hurts when he bites by gently, but with enough force to get the point across, biting him back. This all seems to work well with Ben, and yeah, we reduced his bad behaviors and meanness by about 90%.
But, he was back to the old Ben today, and I am not sure why. I know he woke in the night, and was probably extra tired. He wanted me to hold him just as I was lifting the spaghetti pot with boiling water off the stove, and had to have another kid remove him so he wouldn't get burned, and that threw him into a tizzy. Time out again.
We all know that telling Ben "no" might trigger a fit. Most of the time, he's okay. But it happens. I know he is little yet, but in the last couple of days I have seen an escalation that makes me nervous, and I didn't do a darn thing to help it today. It was just a bad day. Ben woke up just as I was climbing in bed at 3am, and woke the baby. Ben went back to sleep, but the baby really never did. So, we were up all night, with just a few snatches of sleep between 3am and 8am. Ugh. Didn't help me keep my calm with Benny. So, we had a bad day. We'll start again tomorrow.
It never ceases to amaze me - the way God built the parent/child relationship. He makes the children so soft, with big, shining eyes, and sweet, plump cheeks. He made the parents heart vulnerable to these traits. I have a hard time, many times, being the strict disciplinarian. I want to love and cuddle, but so many times lately, this little guy needs a calm momma who can make him listen and obey. Most of all, teach him to calm himself in the middle of one of his more aggressive fits. I know he knows I love him. I know that when he wakes up in the morning, he will have mostly forgotten our angry words today, but I will know I did not do my best with him today, so I will have to work on being calmer tomorrow. Being kinder, especially when he is his worst self. Say a prayer for us, will you? No matter how many children you have, each one has some aspect to their personality that will throw you for a loop. Ben's are startling intelligence, and a little too much anger and stubbornness.
Prayer of Mothers
grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity
which you have conferred on me.
Let me realize that not even the Angels
have been blessed with such a privilege—
to share in your creative miracle
and bring new Saints to heaven.
Make me a good mother to all my children
after the example of Mary,
the Mother of your Son.
Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary
I ask your continued blessings on my family.
Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth
and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven.