7/18/2013

Our little pterodactyl

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One thing that has been a huge struggle for me as a mom with J's personality is his screaming. If you know him, you know what I mean. If you don't know him, let me enlighten you:

Mister J has long struggled to handle his emotions. When he was just a baby, if he was too quickly overwhelmed he would burst into tears. That's all he knew how to do. It's like he had such a strong emotions swirling around in a body that was too little to hold them all, and he didn't know how to handle those emotions so it literally just made him cry.

As he got older, started talking and walking and turned into a ball of energy, he switched from bursting into tears to screaming. It was dreadful. If he was frustrated, if he was mad, if he was happy, if he was tired, if he was hungry, if he was overwhelmed...he would scream. High pitched, break-your-ear-drums screams that wouldn't stop until you covered his mouth.

As he gets older now he is able to communicate his feelings with words much more often, and it is a huge relief. But he still is easily overwhelmed, namely at new places or in large groups of people. And in those situations where he is overwhelmed, he still handles his inital emotions and reactions by screaming.

Sometimes we like to call him "our little pterodactyl".

This screaming business is hard to deal with. I see the strong sides of his personality, the sides I love and admire and know will be a huge strength to him as he gets older. He will be so strong, so independent, a leader that doesn't follow the crowd or care what people think. It will all be so good for him one day.

But as a two year old, it's much harder to deal with. Sometimes trying to help him with his emotions is like trying to stop Niagra Falls.

This week we have taken some huge strides in improvement. More often than not he says "Help mom!" when he is frustrated, instead of screaming. He is learning to control his frustrations with his words and it is so fun for me to watch, because all of this trying to teach them can be so repetitive and sometimes feel like nothing is working. I'm learning that after weeks and weeks (years, in this case?) of being patient and sticking to my guns, I really can wake up one morning and BAM-some improvement! He's getting it! Pass the chocolate cake, let's celebrate!

It's not perfect and we still have a long ways to go, but my goodness if I don't have more hope now than ever before.

Nowdays our biggest hurdle is those large groups of people. He still gets completely overwhelmed in those large groups. Social anxiety? Is there a name for a two year old that doesn't do well with large groups of people? Or new people? Or sometimes just...people at all? And he still won't open up to people easily. Even grandparents and aunts and uncles, he has to know you well and you have to win his heart. Win his heart and continually rewin his heart over and over again in order for him to really open up to the possibility of letting you talk to him or hold him or be his friend.

There are so many patient people in his life and boy are we lucky for that. Because with mister J's personality, he needs LOVE and PATIENCE. Those are the KEYS.

And also, if you are really dying to know how to win his heart, just ask me. I've got allllll the secrets.

PS If anyone else has this struggle, let's get together and TALK because I'm all for the "me toooooo" kind of therapy!

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