A few vignettes on my oldest.
Last night was gaming night. Usually, Grey doesn’t get to watch tv on daycare nights, but an exception is made when we’re gaming. (Tangent: Last night a cleric with zero combat ability managed to throw a rock, hit, and get past the soak of an unwise wizard. Booyah! Learn the lesson, kids. Never leave your shield grogs at home.) He wanted to watch “Planet Earth: Caves”. Now you might THINK that there is nothing wrong with a nature show. But that is because you have never witnessed the vast guano heap alive with beetles. So one of our fellow gamers very reasonably requested that this not be on the tv while she ate her dinner. I explained that she thought it was scary and he should watch something else. He went up to her, very seriously, and solicitously explained to her that she should pray to Jesus so she wouldn’t be scared.
She nearly fell off her chair. See, she’s in the middle of her PhD in Religion and culture and is in the throes of finals. She just took a 24 hour test that involved having read, remembered and synthesized about 80 books. She has another next week with about 70 OTHER books. I think Grey’s comment overloaded already taxed circuits. It was pretty funny.
It was also nice to see Grey problem solve that way. Instead of yelling, or pitching fits or any of the other things a thwarted, hungry, tired kid might do, he tried to give someone else the tools to deal with their fear so he could watch something scary. I thought it was a pretty good solution, as three year old tools go.
I had been having one of those meals where you don’t actually get to, you know, sit and eat. Between negotiating television with Grey, supervising the requisite bites of chicken, rice and green beans, making sure everything was on the table, and then putting an exhausted, fussy Thane to bed it felt like I hadn’t sat at all. Then Grey asked for salt and pepper for his pizza (dinner #2 after a polite feint at dinner #1). I put my head on the table in mock/not-so-mock exasperation.
Then Grey put his arms around me, patted me on the back and said, “It’s ok mommy.”
It is a wonderful and amazing thing to watch your child develop empathy and kindness, and then turn those skills upon you. I’ve watched Grey be wonderful (and terrible) to other people, but when he is intentionally kind TO ME it’s a truly amazing feeling.
Grey has largely been in an awesome spot, lately. (Well, except that he doesn’t reliably sleep as well during the lighter summer months.) The other day he sat at the table with his father and brother. He started playing with Thane, softly calling his name: “Dane! Dane!” He made his brother laugh. Then his face got soft, and he said, “I love you, Dane.” Thane smiled back at his beloved older brother. And it was good.