Our two year homecoming anniversary is coming up for E. in just a few days. When I look back at how much he has grown and changed I am so amazed. However, I'm coming to a realization that loving E seems to come easy for everyone except us. Outside of home he is happy, friendly, smiley and funny. His teachers at preschool don't seem to have any discipline problems. He has made a few friends at school. Extended family and friends tend to not see any problems. At home it's another story most of the time. I am praying that this is just a season in his life.
He does ok on days when dad is home. He also does better when the house is full of siblings. But when most are at school and E. is home in the mornings with more attention from me (school is at 12 for him), he doesn't know what to do with himself. He wanders around the house. He whines about everything. I offer to read with him, play with play dough, anything. The only thing that makes him happy is to watch a video, (which I try to keep to a minimum) or eat constantly.
Church has been an issue too, since he knows when to push my buttons. I swear this is what he is thinking:
Mom has been busy and tired all week. This is her one chance to get filled. Dad is up there on the stage leading worship, so he can't do anything. I'm gonna make her life h*ll.
So he does everything in his power to try to do just that. I thought I had found a great way to overcome this issue, a few weeks ago I told him if he is a good boy (with specific expectations) then he can have a piece of rainbow birthday cake afterward. He was an ANGEL. Last Sunday however, this did not work. Maybe he's clueing in. I told him his reward for good behavior was cookies since church was having a mission lunch. Ten minutes in he was uncooperative and disruptive. I had to leave the sanctuary. E. refused to go to his Sunday School class. I finally got him situated but later heard reports of him having a difficult time. During lunch I passed the cookie plate around and skipped over E. He gave me the glare of death.
His siblings pick on him, because it seems like he is always complaining about anything and everything. He most often spoils family time. He is always lurking, staring, hanging around. When I was making lunch for C. this morning it was like he was drooling over the food. So I put a handful of almonds at his place at the table and smiled warmly at him. He frowned at me and said, "I'm not gonna eat that."
During playtime he spins around the room, tripping over toys, furniture or people. He wiggles and wobbles through space with his hands and arms flinging around. He does strange things like walking around with dirty socks on his head and when asked why he responds, "Decause it's funny! (insert fake giggle) He can't regulate himself and spirals out of control when he does start to enjoy playtime. A good time playing hide and seek turns into someone getting hurt because he's running around the house yelling and giggling uncontrollably.
This morning was no different. E wandered around the house. I suggested he play in his room. He cried and whined. He got a stuffed animal, took it by the arm and swung it over his head while spinning in circles. I asked him not to do that since this specific animal was losing it's stitching. He got a truck, and pushed it on the floor, with all of his weight on the toy. It's one of the surviving cars we own like this since the others' wheels had collapsed from the weight. I checked on him after a few minutes. He sat there, listening to the car squeak and groan under pressure. He looked up at me and said, "Look mom, I'm playing!"
The long awaited lunch came (he lives to eat), and he took forever eating the sandwich his brother made him. It was a different type of bread, with nuts in it. (my ploy to keep myself from eating bread, since I am allergic to nuts!) He took a REALLY long time eating it, after picking apart the filling and slice of bread. He complained and gagged.
A lot of these behaviors may seem like they are typical for a 4/5 year old. Or that they are really nothing to make a deal about. But trust me, after watching him try to fit in, cope with daily life, and try to annoy or sabotage relationships or situations nearly all the time, we've started to realize this is not normal.
Then today, we had a few minutes to spare before the bus came. I called E to me to snuggle him before he left. He frowned and whined, "why do I have to do this???". I tried my best to love him and explained that giving and getting hugs makes you feel nice. "Doesn't this feel nice?" No response. Then I said, "E, I love you." No response. I asked, "Do you love me?" With more whines, he told me no. I asked if he liked me... no. I told him that it hurt my feelings and made me sad that he said he doesn't like or love me. He asked why. Then hid a smile.