My children, or presumably all children, are made up of such a complex combination of characteristics that sometimes seem contradictory. (10 literary points for that alliteration!) Eli for example, is both our most tender and affectionate child but also our most obstinate and disobedient child.
He is a mystery to me and is challenging my parenting. His apathy is so great that consequences carry no weight. No cartoons? No problem. Take away my toys? Ain’t no thing. Guilt or remorse? Never heard of them.
And yet, if you can get him on board with a task or project he is 100% committed to the job. For example, Richard had the boys help vacuum up pine needles with the shop-vac. Cameron couldn’t wait to get his hands on the machine but lost interest in a matter of minutes. Eli waited his turn and then when Cameron was finished Eli saw it through until the job was complete.
But his devotion to an idea is not always so productive. For example, yesterday a particle of sawdust fell from the piano bench, landed in Eli’s eye, and rocked his world for the next several hours. At first it was endless crying, during which time period Richard and I tried to determine if in fact he was in pain, if in fact there was a beam in his eye or if it was just Eli drama. Just when we were sure he needed to be ignored until his tantrum passed, we would question ourselves because what normal child cries that hard and that long over nothing?
I guess Eli does.
He finally fell asleep and we were sure that once aroused he would have forgotten all. We let him sleep for awhile but a birthday celebration awaited so we woke him and it was drama all over again. He ate his dinner with his eyes closed, stubbornly refusing to open them. At one point it was one eye, then the other eye. He would be temporarily distracted only to resume his wailing when he recalled his ordeal. It was pathetic to say the least.
Eventually he forgot his situation entirely, although how and when that took place I’m not exactly sure. But the remainder of the evening passed without any mention of his eye.
Oh our little Eli, with his hyper-sensitive senses and a pain threshold to be feared by all healthcare personnel.
The boys take turns feeding Misha, Cameron in the morning and Eli in the evening. The other day he retrieved her dish and filled it with dogfood without incidence. But he has to set the bowl down to use both hands to open the back door. Once the door was open and the cold air rushed in, he froze. He was completely immobilized by the cold and cried and stood completely still until I closed the door. For Misha’s sake, despite Eli’s ridiculous behavior, I agreed to open and close the door for him so he could quickly place the dish on the back patio. Even that was almost more than he could bear.
These stories are amusing to Richard and I when taken out of context, but in the situation we find ourselves completely frustrated and baffled as to the appropriate way to handle it. I’ve heard many parents say that they wish their children came with a manual. These days, I couldn’t agree more.