This whole weekend really was a tad crazy and full for Lucas. Yesterday baseball practice, a birthday party, swimming for 2 hours, out to dinner with dad and Isaac, and back to the party for a little while. Today, back to church and all the amazingness of Passion Kids, seeing friends again, and then an amazing birthday party for a friend who just came home from China about 3 months ago. A total blast but nonstop motion and activity.
Today food was a bit weird--cereal in the morning, a hotdog for lunch, a piece of cake and a McDonald's hamburger. Really, for this boy, probably not enough food. But, he didn't say he was hungry until of course it came to bedtime.
Now, bedtime has become a bit of a testing area again recently because we got lazy again. We started laying down with him again after reading stories---argh! I actually think it amounts to laziness and sleepiness on my part...and...do I have to admit I love to cuddle? But, then at some point it becomes annoying because I fall asleep and have to wake up and go into my own bed--disrupting my sleep and also creating a dependence on having someone laying with him. It also creates a problem for us ever leaving him at bedtime to go someplace. He can't adjust to someone else putting him to bed very well.
So, we have pulled that plug "again"! Hopefully for the last time, but we will see...
story or two
sleep (without anyone laying down)
check on him ocassionally just for security for him.
Tonight we had the "I can't sleep" and checking several times on him to make sure he was sleeping, etc. Finally, after 20 minutes he said "I'm hungry". I had 2 thoughts in that moment and choices as to how I was going to respond. 1. Am I being manipulated? and thus discipline this situation and say "no"? or 2. Listen, and feed the child. (think through his day and evening and realize food was a tad unbalanced today)
Now, I catch myself in these moments because:
1. I have told him to tell me when he is hungry so we can avoid meltdowns
2. He has told us that when he was "bad" in China they made him skip meals. (that makes me mad)
3. I promised him that if he "ever" tells me he is hungry, I will feed him (if at all possible)
So, again, in this moment I have to evaluate-- Am I being manipulated? or Is he really trying to tell me something? He added to his hunger statement by saying he was feeling frustrated and feeling like he might get angry. That actually is a huge step for him. Identifying the hunger, irritation about falling asleep, and realizing he could escalate at any moment.
We had no fighting or tears tonight. It wasn't a meltdown, but I felt like if I didn't listen to him, and follow through with my promise to feed him, that I would be creating a bigger problem than if he was truly manipulating me.
There are some things that I need to see from a different perspective than I used to. I can't always walk around with suspicion that I'm being manipulated. I want him to use his words and I want him to always be able to trust me/us that we will supply for him what he needs, especially food. We have never had hoarding issues or hiding food issues, etc. with him which is a good thing and actually quite common with kids from orphanages. But, the discipline he received by forcing him to skip meals makes me want to respond to his requests for food.
So, at 10:15pm...I got a glass of milk--warmed it in the microwave, put peanut butter on a few Ritz crackers and took them to him in his room. I didn't want to make it into a meal. But, a little protein, a few carbs and the 'magic milk'... and tada....
I didn't really think much more about it, but right after that he did fall asleep immediately.
When I went to lay down in my own bed, I reflected on his response to it. He had such a sweet smile for me, hugs, kisses and then a tender memory. Months ago when we were struggling with some sleep issues like this, I told him that my daddy used to give me warm milk to help me fall asleep--and since he is now "gone" this makes me think of him. Well, tonight he remembered that story. And he got the sweetest smile about my daddy. A man he never met. It was another connection for him to his grandpa. And I could tell it brought sweetness and calmness and gentleness to his little soul tonight. It was like my dad was helping us...
How could I deny that to him? but more importantly, Why would I deny that to him?
He's at a place where he is beginning to identify hunger, verbalize some of his feelings, and just be so stinkin' cute and loving at times. My job is simple...
warm milk and peanut butter crackers. I think I can do that.