For some reason, the song Stuck In The Middle With You came to mind as Owen started throwing his shrimp around the kitchen. Shrimp to the left of me, shrimp to the right, kinda came out in a singsong tone as they went flying by my head and I was in the middle. Let’s just say Owen would have preferred to have his tablet at dinner. It needed to charge, plus can’t we have one meal without it, but the flying shrimp say otherwise. He wasn’t mad so much as he wanted them off his plate so he could be “you done” with dinner. I then tried to encourage him to eat his shrimp and talk with me, but instead of throwing them, they started going up his nose. When I asked him to stop sticking the shrimp up his nose he stuck them in his toes. I think we moved on to Dr. Seuss at this point because he kept going. He rolled them in his hair, he rolled them across his face, he even pulled his shirt out and stuck them down his shirt. And which behavior do I try to correct, so I stopped even trying. I moved on to more conversational questions. “Do you know what state you live in”, I asked. This is when it got good. I think he rolled his eyes at me. I don’t know if he even understands the concept, but there they were. I said, “you live in West Virginia can you say West Virginia”. He proceeded to say a version of West Virginia quickly followed by “throw it en de trash” lifting his plate above his head. So I kept going and surprisingly he put his plate down. I asked him more questions, trying to ignore the behaviors. If I pay attention to the behaviors they are amplified. If I ignore the behaviors they are changed. The song came back to mind again “stuck in the middle with you”. How do you correct a behavior when correcting the behavior only creates more behaviors or hours of meltdowns. You breathe, simply breathe. He got up, I made him wash his hands, and decluttered his shirt from the shrimp, and he was off to the races, grabbing his tablet as he went. I sat down surrounded by shrimp knowing he would come back. I really couldn’t cry. The tears are all dried up today. I thought I swept all the shrimp up but after three more trips back to the table with his tablet, and three more trips to the bathroom to wash the shrimp off, and three more trips back to the living room, I think I missed a shrimp in the final cleanup. Back to Dr. Seuss, I thought. I’m tired and he’s happy. He asked about all of his favorite places today and I prayed a little harder that everything would be okay when we started going back. One day at a time, one shrimp at a time, and one huge smile from my sweet baby O gets me through my day. Let yesterday go, rejoice the victories of today, and know that after the rain the sun will shine again. Smiles to all and donut daze!
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I'm Lynn Browder. Owen's Mommy. The best moments in time are when I get to see the smile on his face and that giggle come from his heart.