Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I spend 14-16 of my 24 hours per day in the company of my child, (the rest of the time he is sleeping.) because of this, I notice things pretty quickly about his development. Jake's newest thing, (other than his hugely expanding vocabulary) is that he's demonstrating some pretty complicated emotions for such a little human being, more than the usual toddler angry/happy/neutral/sad/frustrated which dominated his personality for the previous 2.5 years. The newest over the last 2 weeks or so has been the development of his "feelings." Ugh... Feelings.
For instance, he's consistently telling me he's "Sad" "Happy", "Missing" "I love"; though "Love" is still a pretty abstract concept at this point in time, he tells me he loves everything from his toothbrush to Grandma and Papa, his "toonies" (cartoons) to the colour of my shirt, etc., and "Sad" is usually when I tell him "No, Jake, You can't have more ice cream." Or "No, Jake, you can't stay up any longer, it's BED-TIME."
A light smack on the hand for touching something potentially dangerous, or a forceful "No!" when he's repeatedly whining for something results in tears and very obvious hurt feelings. Temper tantrums have taken on an entirely new level of Holy fuck! in magnitude because it's pretty apparent that he's overwhelmed when he's at that point of losing his noodle. Hey, I didn't say they were REFINED emotions, just that they were new. Haha! Truth be told, he's a bit of a Drama King.
Whereas before they were just vague concepts for him when I would use flash cards on my iPod to teach him the basics of human emotions and facial recognition for emotions, you can actually SEE that he's starting to grasp the intricacies of it all now.
I suppose his developing vocabulary over the last few months (He's speaking in mostly sentences and some paragraphs now.) has added another level of finesse and finagling in dealing with his emotional self for the hubz and I. Hooray for semantics. Surprisingly, even with this additional layer to my child's onion-like self, it's actually easier for me to deal with him now.
Easier how? Well, because of these emotional shifts in his brain, he bargains and reasons with us a lot better now that he's understanding the emotional side where we are coming from. It's pretty awesome actually! He's going to be a tender little thing though, I think.
Now, coming from being a tenderhearted individual myself growing up, I'm going to have to find ways to ensure that my son can still be sweet but develop a tough enough skin that things won't bother him quite so badly. At this point it's fine, but once he starts attending school, there will more than likely be problems with other children picking on him if they sense weakness or sensitivity in his character. Don't get me wrong, I don't want my sweetie to be jaded or rough, I just want him to be able to defuse situations without letting his sensitive emotional self getting overwrought. Perhaps humour will be his best defense...
Come to think of it, most of the big boys in my family are pretty humourous gents. You have no idea how relieved I am to know that along with his father, Jake has some pretty fucking excellent male role models to look up to. My dad, Uncles, and cousin are pretty fantastic men.
To help myself become a stronger, more confident parent, as well as nurturing the bond between my son and myself, I am attending a seminar this upcoming weekend on parenting/raising boys, by Barry MacDonald called "Mentoring Boys: To become Caring, Courageous and Ethical Men." It covers a lot of topics, but mainly, (at least, from my understanding; I'll have more to say on this after I've digested my learning from the weekend...) focuses on techniques of communication between parents and boys to raise them as caring and considerate members of society with good communication skills.
I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can learn and if it will work with Jake. Admittedly, it is aimed at boys ages 5-18, and since Jake falls below this threshold I'm not certain how useful it will be for me immediately, but I am sure (or at least sincerely hoping) that laying groundwork before then will be beneficial for Jake as well as the hubz and I.