I have a three-year old. He is adorable. He is a sweetheart.
He loves dinosaurs. He loves Bob the Builder. He loves Goosebumps. He loves Mom and Dad. He loves food. He is so full of zest for so many things.
He is also full of NOISE and is the BIGGEST challenge of my entire life.
Every day, we have the same battles. He needs a certain color cup and plate. He needs to wear jeans and a polo shirt. He has to watch Bob the Builder. He absolutely must say everything in his loudest voice, regardless of how many people tell him he is too loud.
And after someone tells him to get quiet,…he gets louder!
He must be the one to pray before every meal. Even if someone else has prayed, he demands everyone stop again so he can pray aloud.
At nap time, he sleeps on my bed (so his brother will actually sleep and they don’t get up and play). He won’t lie down to sleep until I close my bathroom door and build “walls” around him on the bed with pillows. Then I have to give him a kiss before I can leave the room or he yells for me to come back. He also tells me he will not sleep and lets out a screech when I shut the door. Just one screech, but it happens WITHOUT FAIL.
He is constantly moving. Energy is off the charts. He is playing dinosaurs. Then he is running through the girls’ setup of dolls or toys or just messing with them while they play “house.” He has a million questions and (this week) a bazillion things to say about STEGASAURUS!!! Next week, it will probably be another dinosaur he is yelling about.
A few weeks ago, I really started to worry that he had a problem. The doctor mentioned his behavior this past Spring while we were there for another kid’s checkup; he was a terror – messing with everything, saying every naughty thing he could think of, and telling me NO any time I corrected him. When we went back for a visit at the end of September, she noted how different and more composed he was.
He did act better, but at home he was still (what I called) crazy.
Then we went to the library this past Monday. I was scanning the Parent/Teacher shelves for any new homeschooling books to check out. A book called Raising Your Spirited Child caught my eye. Ok, it pretty much threw itself off the shelf INTO my eye. I thought spirited sounded a little stupid, to be honest. But, the words under the title are what made my decision to check it out. “A guide for parents whose child is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, energetic.”
This was my guy! He is MORE of what my other kids are at a “normal” level. HIS normal is out of the ordinary for other kids.
I am about half way through the book. I cannot tell you how many times I have laughed while reading this eye-opening book. Every example they give, every description or explanation they have for how a “spirited” child might act or react….it is EXACTLY how my little guy acts and reacts!
It is not a Bible-based book, which was one of the reasons I hesitated getting it. But, the book is mostly about understanding a spirited child and gives advice on handling and avoiding certain situations. It doesn’t deal with the heart and helping the child understand their need for Jesus or how their behavior fits into the moral spectrum. I am happy to read solutions to the over-the-top meltdowns he has at the store, library, park, friends’ homes, etc. And I also love how they explain how to BETTER talk to your child – the positive adjectives I can use to describe his over-the-topness (not a word, I know), rather than just use negative ones. He isn’t necessarily being defiant and naughty. He is just more exuberant than a lot of kids. He has a zest for particular things that maybe I don’t understand, but that doesn’t mean he does not like anything else. He just has to be approached a certain way when introducing new things or changing a routine or cancelling plans. He needs to be prepped a certain way before going to the store or out in public or in a loud place.
There isn’t anything wrong with my guy. He doesn’t hate me. He isn’t trying to push my buttons or ignore the rules.
He just loves life in a way that I do not always understand. But he LOVES life….and his dinosaurs. :)
And I LOVE HIM!