When I arrived at my friend's house today I was greeted by her two excited dogs. They were quiet, unlike one of my dogs who barks like crazy when someone is at the door, and they were right up to the door ready to greet me. When she could finally get them far enough away for it to be safe for me to enter I slipped in. I notice right off the bat that this young woman had matured quite a bit since that last time we met. For one month and a few days, she has practicing mom of three little kiddos.
There he sat in his baby perch, a new little person on earth, her second son. When I found out that her oldest daughter was off and away at kindergarten I was a bit shocked. Please understand, I have lost a few years. I have tried to be home as much as possible to help my youngest through his days and haven't reached out much. I have missed this friend but I knew she was busy and had her mama friends and so I let some slack go in our keeping up. It's all good and we understand each other. I think it had been a year since our last visit. It was refreshing to be back in her home.
Within minutes I grabbed that baby and just loved on him. And then there was her middle, all boy, and talking in full sentences! He was very serious about all his "no's" and correcting everything I said. Three years on planet earth earns you these rights.
As my friend and I chatted and caught up on each other's lives her boy did what he could to get some attention. It's tough to get grown-ups to see how important and interesting your world is at times. I heard about tv shows that I have never heard of before. He wanted to know the name of the dog was that he was coloring (I'm so out of touch with pre-school pop culture). The funniest part of the morning was when my friend told Alexa to put on the jellyfish channel on Netflix and he kept telling Alexa not to. His mom looked at me with a grin and said, "Kid's of the twenty-teens!" Wow to always live in a voice-activated world, I can't even imagine!
As the hour pushed toward lunch time and then nap time things started to unravel for this little man-child. He threw one of his brother's diapers right at my face, tried to rip my glasses off my face, wacked me right in the face, and kicked me in the legs as he lay next to me. I have never been so abused by a child before! His mom dealt with him, in her own way, each time. I got apologized to multiple times. He was on the go from the moment I got there and I could see that this guy's way of dealing with the world was very very physical. He took after mama the dancer. When we visit she moves when she explains something; she shows me with her body and not just her words. This wild child was wild about movement. I also knew that there were a couple other things going on with him. First, he just had a baby brother come home and that right there is enough to rock a three-year-old's world and get him to act up. Second, he wanted attention and he was doing what he could to get it. From his perspective, he was doing what came naturally for him. Of course, hitting and kicking will have to be corrected because they are not acceptable ways of getting what you want, but I get it. I used to throw tantrums. I clearly remember throwing one on my parent's bed because I was very frustrated about something and I needed to physically get my feelings out of my body. Yes, kids are untamed creatures in the raw, but I think that they are doing the best they can with what they know and what they have.
There was this really sweet moment when I had the new baby on my chest, the little wild thing sitting beside me, and one of the dogs smelling my lips. What more could you ask for but to be smothered in boys and dogs? Even though he abused me physically, I knew that what was the motive behind it was to grab my attention, and before I left he let me wrap my arms around him and give him kisses and we made plans for my next visit (it involved food)!
Lesson: We all work from what is our natural way of being in the world. You give what you like to get. When interacting with others study how they connect with the world and try and connect with them in their style.
***As a disclaimer I would never advocate putting up with abuse of any kind unless it comes from a crazy three-year-old who just wants your attention.