Ezra,  Motherhood

Tactics of infancy {two steps forward, twenty steps back}

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My hand rests on the gingerbread man. This blanket, that I’ve had since I was a child, now rests on the back of my son. My hand rises with his breath…a gentle rise and fall.

four year old sleeping

This blanket was my favorite because of its weight. It went with me to camps and college. When I was a teen, I tucked both arms underneath it, my hands clasping a little New Testament – fearing the demons that I believed were inhabiting my home.

I prayed a lot under that blanket.

Now, here I am. Knees knelt on the hardwood floor. Hands resting on his back. This child who seems to be fighting proverbial demons all the time.

I bow my head on top of the hand upon his back. It’s a prayerful position, but I can’t seem to compose my thoughts into a prayer. That is the story of my life these days. But I know God is here in this moment. My silence an offering, a request to the All Powerful One.

When I was away camping this past weekend, I shared a room with my son. That being the case, our night-time routine of rock-for-ten-minutes-then-leave-the-room-listen-to-him-cry-put-him-back-in-bed-five-million-times-over-the-course-of-an-hour-and-a-half was impossible to carry out. So I resorted back to the tactics of infancy: patting and rubbing the back until the child falls asleep.

Each time his breathing slowed rapidly, and he was asleep within twenty minutes.

four year old sleeping

It was strange, this success.

How can something feel like two steps forward yet twenty steps back all at the same time?

He’s four years old. I shouldn’t have to do this.

Then again…

Maybe your four year old just needs you…

Pushing him to act his age and be independent hasn’t worked. Yet treating him like an infant seems counter-intuitive.

His body and intellect so much four (and beyond). His emotions and impulses still like that of a toddler. Having to mother both sides of him using only my personal experience and intuition…it’s like being pulled in both directions at the same time. I can’t imagine what it feels like for him.

At the end of the day – especially at the end of the day – what really matters is what works. What meets the need in the moment. Even if it goes against what you think should be the right solution.

I long for the day when he will learn to self-soothe. But expecting that of him has just left us all frustrated and exhausted. So, maybe for now, I’ll choose the twenty steps back if it means I can take two steps forward.

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7 Comments

  • Jill

    The road is so long yet the kids grow up so fast. I pushed my eldest a lot to be independent and helped a lot for the third child. And in flash, they are already grown up.

  • Kris K

    I still lay with each of my girls every night (10 and 8) and pray then sing 4 songs while cuddling with them. The youngest always falls asleep during this time. I figure sooner than later this time of cuddling/singing will be gone. I’ll take our quiet time in our busy days to just be present with them as long as they let me. It takes so much less time to do this than to fight about them going to bed.

  • Leeann

    Just want you to know that you have support, whether vocal or quiet, from your readers.
    I’ve got three kids, who are now not so much kids, at least not all of them. 19, 15 and 12. I thought my 12 year old would about do me in. Impulsive, overactive, sensory seeking – all of it. The good news is that it does get better. It really does. He’s the most amazing kid now- a deep thinker and just loves his family so strongly. But believe me, there were long years when I could do was repeat “this too will pass” over and over to myself. And it did.

    Oh and PS- maybe you can get him a weighted blanket or a weighted vest for Christmas. I find that the weight of the x-ray vest at the dentist almost instantly calms me and nearly puts me to sleep and my daughter says the same thing. It might help to soothe him at night.

    • Aprille

      Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I believe so strongly that God has really amazing plans for him…it’s just the mean time that’s really hard! I’ve heard great things about weighted blankets so I’ll have to look into that.

  • Kem

    I was just having a wee wander around your blog and forgive me for asking, but have you ever taken Ezra to a cranial-sacral Osteopath? I know of a few older toddlers who have really benefitted from adjustment so just wanted to throw it out there!

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