Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 64: Alone Time

I tend to be a bit of an introvert (shocking, I know). As such, I really value alone time. And although I don't get much of it these days, what little I do get refreshes me and keeps me going on the days I want to throw up my hands and walk away never to return (I know you know the days I'm talking about!). But introvert or not, sometimes what I need is a hug, a good conversation or just some good ol' fun.

Jackson's going through a temporary aggravation period after taking a homeopathic remedy on Sunday, and he's been struggling with insomnia, hyperactivity, and feeling generally out of control. From experience I know that these are all things that leave him overwhelmed and unable to cope with even the smallest stressor.

Needless to say, the day so far has been full of melt-downs and freak-outs. Oh, and he's had a tough day too.

I've got lots of work piling up, so I'm feeling pressure to try to get things done while the kids are awake. This is usually a disaster because either they or my work has to suffer - I can't give 100% to both. But sometimes half-assed work is better than uncompleted work, so I gave it a shot again today.

I was expecting Jackson to resist my decision to work, to try to divert my attention to him. Instead, he plopped himself down in his bedroom and read book after book to himself. It turned out that the time I spent working was the time he felt most centered and calm today, the time he was most himself.

Quite simply, he needed some alone time. And I didn't see it.

All morning I felt like I had to be by his side to help him through a tough day. I was focused on how patient and present I needed to be. I felt "shoulds" raining down on me when I put my attention anywhere else. But only because I wasn't tuning in.

I was thinking about what a mother should do for a struggling child instead of what I should do for my struggling child today.

There are days when all he needs is me, present and patient. But not today. I didn't grant him the respect of allowing his needs to change until I stumbled upon it by accident. Today was a great reminder to listen to what his behavior tells me about his needs, to ask him what he needs, and not to assume that his needs are static.

It's no less true for him at two than it is for me as an adult: The same need must be met in different ways on different days.

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