Alternatively Titled: Mama’s Gonna Need Some Dark Chocolate
I don’t know if it’s true for all children, but it seems to be the case for Linker children that they need some extra parenting during their fifth year. Ava’s was an issue of cold-blooded defiance and disrespect. Israel’s was an issue of tearful meltdowns resulting from slight provocations. So now it’s Egan’s turn, and it’s enough to drive Josh and I to drinking.
Except we are good Baptists, so we are not actually driven to drinking. But I’m going to blame these extra-lovey love handles I’ve obtained this summer on the stress eating Egan has caused.
OK, so I really blame those on the stress of moving combined with the crazy schedule and lack of sleep and exercise. And dark chocolate peanut M&Ms. And iced coffee.
But I digress.
So I’m going to write about some parenting struggles we have with our third child, not to complain, but to remind you that we are actually real people with real struggles, lest my blog posts or Instagram pictures tell you otherwise. Also, there might be some moms out there with the exact same problems, and I would really like, if possible, to meet you at Starbucks, hold your hand, and cry with you. If that is geographically impossible, I at least would like to take a moment and pray for you. Because this struggle? I know it’s real.
So what’s the deal with Egan?
No volume control. Everything he does is loud…unless I need it to be! His voice is naturally loud. He walks loudly. (This is our first time in a house that’s not on a concrete slab, and it takes a while to get used to how loudly people walk!) We know when he’s in the bathroom because he RAISES AND LOWERS THE TOILET SEAT LOUDLY.
No actual listening. The last time I took him for a check-up, sweet Dr. Perry asked what our concerns were. I said something like, “He has trouble listening. I’m pretty sure that he can hear fine because when you do the whisper test in a few minutes, he’s going to ace it. He just doesn’t listen.” I could tell Dr. Perry was a little concerned about potential hearing problems, but sure enough, Egan passed the hearing test no problem.
And here’s the thing. I don’t think Egan ignores me on purpose. I very rarely feel like he is purposefully defying me. But he has extremely selective hearing. To the point that he if he is running towards a road and I am screaming at the top of my lungs for him to “STOP!”, well, he’s just not going to hear me because he’s focused on what he’s doing.
Which is terrifying.
Touching all. the. things. This seems to be a little better in this house, but there are days where it’s a constant, “Leave that alone, Egan. Now leave that alone. Leave that alone, too. IF IT DOESN’T BELONG TO YOU, LEAVE IT ALONE.”
Not taking “No” for an answer. I am ashamed that a lot of times I let him wear me down from my “No” to some sort of compromise. I shouldn’t allow this, but it’s like some kind of survival gear kicks in whenever he has completely worn me out and I’m like, “Fine, eat the cake, I don’t even care anymore.”
Constant need for company. At some point, Ava teased him about spiders in the bathroom, and then he simply refused to poop unless one of us was with him. Which is not always a possibility. At one point, he became so anal retentive and constipated I had to resort to a suppository.
Guess who’s pooping on his own again, now!
He can’t clean his room because he’s lonely. He can’t get ready for bed because he’s lonely. It’s rare that he’s even willing to play by himself.
Hunger. He’s always dying of hunger. Which is strange, since he rarely eats much of his meals!
One day I was in the check-out line at the grocery store. Egan was being…himself, which means, in this particular place, I’m saying, “Don’t touch that. Put that down. Leave the mirror alone, she needs it at that angle. No, you can’t have candy. If you wanted candy, you should not have TOUCHED THE THINGS!”
A sweet lady behind me simply observed, “He’s busy, isn’t he?”
YES. That is the word to perfectly sum up Egan. He is so, so, so very BUSY.
So what are we going to do with this wonderful, hilarious, intelligent, and very BUSY child?
Well, clearly, I am still working all this out. But here are my thoughts so far:
- Pray for guidance. This little guy is just a different ball game for us. Ava is typical first child; she is independent and driven. Israel is typical middle child; he plays well by himself and rarely demands our attention. Egan is a typical last child; he is crazy and fun and very demanding of attention. The problem is, he is NOT a last child! Which means that we can’t pour all the attention on him that a last child can typically get. How do we give him the attention that he craves and still do a halfway decent job of taking care of our family and obligations? It is about this that we are praying!
- Carve out some Egan time. Clearly, he needs it. The good thing about him being home for Kindergarten is I read with him every afternoon. But he definitely craves more one-on-one time, and we’re going to have to be creative to get it for him.
- Adjust his diet. Alright now, this is where you know it’s getting real. I am particularly stubborn about food. We are three-meal-a-day people. And we’re not huge snackers, although in recent years I have caved to the mid-afternoon snack. (Which is always something pre-packaged. Lest you be impressed.) Part of me wants to say that Egan’s complaints about hunger are just an excuse to get out of schoolwork/cleaning/anything unpleasant. But another part of me says that he might just be one of those people that would do better with small meals throughout the day rather than three big meals a day. I cannot prepare multiple meals a day, but I also don’t want to fill his belly with empty snack calories. SO, I am actually looking at the world of healthy snacks, and considering starting a snack schedule regimen for him.
So I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious.
Parenting a Linker five year old is not for the faint of heart. I’ll just be over here reminding myself how much of a privilege and honor it is to be chosen as this particular five year old’s mama.
(This is an honor and privilege. This is an honor and privilege. This is an honor and privilege.)