Day 13: Counselors don’t have hammers

Okay, so first a couple of positive notes about today:

1) Boy had another great soccer game this morning. He has been really struggling with team sports thus far. It’s been hard for him to focus, and probably that is because he just didn’t really understand what he was supposed to be doing. So he’s been the kid kind of halfheartedly running around the field behind the other kids, and every once in a while kicking the ball in a random direction. But after a particularly painful Saturday morning last month, I made an effort to start talking to him about the idea of soccer, and what he should be doing, and even though he was insulted at first and didn’t want to hear about it, the change has been astonishing. My husband, who knows way more about soccer, has been talking to him, too. And I love, love seeing his bright little face after the last few games.

2) Girl wrote a perfectly backwards 5, and when we told her that it was a mirror image of the ‘usual’ way to write a 5, Boy ran and got a mirror to show her what we meant. After that he was trying to write words and sentences backwards for a while, so they would read correctly in the mirror. He said it was really hard, and told me that he read in one of his books that Leonardo da Vinci used to write backwards in his journals, so they can be read only in a mirror. I loved that.

3) I got Girl to do her first letter worksheet, tracing a capital ‘A’ using the numbers and arrows, so that she wrote them top to bottom, left to right. This is a BIG DEAL for girl, who doesn’t like being told what to do, and naturally wants to write things bottom to top, right to left. But I caught her at the right moment. Hooray for timing!

And now on to what makes me want to lay on my face and cry.

Boy’s anger issues. As mentioned yesterday, I’ve been distracted and busy. I think Boy feels a little unmoored. Too much freedom, not enough structure and supervision. And I think he is needing more direct help with things that make him feel frustrated, like his sister. I think those are hard things for a seven-year-old to articulate. Me losing my temper doesn’t help. At all. And I think he has complicated feelings about his activities. Pretty much every time we tell him it’s time to go get ready for something, he has a meltdown, or at least intimations of one (if we’re lucky).

Anyhoo…

This morning Girl told me something that they were doing outside yesterday that was…bad. I promised both of them I would never tell anyone else about it, so I won’t. But just imagine something that would make you feel worried.  And I was very proud of Girl for telling me the truth. But we had to talk to Boy after soccer about what had happened. I told him that we would need to supervise him a lot more for the next while, because it was our job to keep him and everyone else safe. And I told him that I knew he was feeling angry lately and doing things that probably didn’t feel very good, and that it probably all felt kind of scary. He was nodding all the time.  I told him that we weren’t angry, but we were worried, and we would try to help him figure out why he was feeling angry, and make those things better, but also help him learn how to handle angry feelings better when they happen. Because angry feelings happen.

At that point he started crying and saying he didn’t want to go see a pediatrician or a counselor. Girl, trying to make him feel better, said that Ted (her bear) used to hit her mom, and she went to go see a counselor, and it was okay. Boy said, sobbing, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! Seeing a counselor is terrible! You have to talk and talk for hours, and the counselor bangs his hammer really loudly!” It took us a minute…then both Papa and I chimed in with, “Ohhhh, no, buddy, buddy, that’s a trial! You’re not going to go see a judge, honey, a counselor is like the nicest man or lady in the world, and you sit in a nice little room with them and tell them what you’re feeling, and they help you figure it all out!”

What’s hilarious to me is that earlier when Papa reassured Boy that he’d gone to see a counselor before, and it was okay, Boy didn’t bat an eye, but when I said that I had, too, Boy’s head swiveled on his neck like an owl’s, and he was like, “What?! WHY?!?” I find it encouraging that whatever my faults, my son finds the idea of me appearing before a judge much more incredible than my husband having to do so.

In your face, husband.

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