Although I’ve known it for a long time, it’s sometimes hard to remember that children, babies, in particular, comprehend by our intentions. They understand us by what we are feeling, and feelings don’t lie. We can be saying positive and uplifting things, but if underneath those words are covering up feelings of frustration and anxiety, our children will be wondering what’s the matter with us.
On the same token, we can understand our children by what they are emitting on an energy level.
This was so obvious last night.
Yesterday, our son seemed off . He cried easier, and life seemed to be overwhelming. He wasn’t focused on his play as he usually is and all in all, I thought it best to take him to bed early to see if it would help.
When I took him up, he didn’t ask to go to bed as he usually does by climbing on the bed, pulling the covers over himself and then patting the space beside him for me to join him. (He still hasn’t started talking yet. At 20 months he’s our latest talker, and we feel it’s simply because we all understand him so well anyway, he doesn’t need words.)
Rather, he went and hid behind the bed, his way of asking me to play peek abo. I started to play, half distracted by other things I needed to get done, but slowly our son called me back to myself. Slowly, I found that present, in-the-moment feeling where we could connect.
After about 15 minutes, our little boy climbed on the bed and decided to read with me. We got his book about cars and trucks and he kept turning to the pages of backhoes and loggers. Thru his actions, he expression and his determination to show them to me, I got the feeling that he was sincerely frightened by them, which affects him greatly as where we live, we see these on a regular basis.
Although he doesn’t talk I reassured him that if he stayed with us and didn’t touch the trucks, he was safe. I told him there was nothing to worry about, but validated his concern by saying it was best to stay with us or in the car. I then distracted him away from it, by reading him a pretty book about winnie the pooh. His dad came up to say goodnight, and immediately our son grabbed the car book and pulled it open to the pages with the backhoes and loggers. (as a side note, I love watching his serious face as he flips through pages of a book. He looks so lovely, it makes my heart beat double time.)
His dad talked to him about how they worked. Showed him where the driver sat, and that they needed a driver to work, and that no matter what we would keep him safe.
Our son looked at us relieved, snuggled down beside me and went to sleep, happy, safe and content.
The next morning he was himself again. He played with gusto, and was grounded and focused.
He hadn’t said a word, but by taking the time to read his feelings and his subtle ways of expressing himself we’d gained insight to what was throwing him off. And all from starting off from getting to a better, more in tuned, place by playing with him a bit.
Some joy equalled more joy… at that average, I think I’ll play even more often.