The other day, Alex had a meltdown (what's new right hah) while playing with his cousins. I carried him and we went into the room. I sat next to him on the bed and I told him, that we will go out once he finishes his cry.
"Mamy go outside. I want Mamy to go outside!"
"Why? Why do you want me to go outside?"
"Because I want to cry first"
So, I left the room. Then, I heard a muffled cry - I believe he planted his head onto our blanket and cried. About 4-seconds later, he called for me. I went in and he gave me a hug and wiped his own face.
This entire incident left me thinking the whole day and night.
In some ways, it kinda broke my heart to go through the entire scenario with my firstborn. It is heartbreaking but now I know, I needed to see that.
You see - the truth is I have always struggled to embrace this part of Alex since he was born. He cries so often and so easily that it really made it hard for me to 'accept' and often time I find myself shutting down mentally every time he has a meltdown. Sometimes, these meltdowns last for 10-seconds, and sometimes they can last up to 30-minutes.
and the reasons for his meltdown can be anything - someone said no to him when he asked for something, someone snatched his toy, someone told him to wait et cetera.
It is mentally very (very) exhausting, and it can get very frustrating.
I have always thought that there must be something that I must have not done correctly in his upbringing to have him cry every time he gets frustrated, sad, or angry. So, I tried everything that I can think of and nothing really works.
Then, this happened.
When he asked me to leave the room, I was shocked because usually, he would want me around but when I was asked to leave, my heart broke a little.
Then, I realized something that changed me - overnight.
Children react differently because they are all different individuals and I have seen many different kinds of reactions from children when they get frustrated, sad, and angry.
Some kids hit, some kids bite, some kids merajuk, and some other kids probably yell.
But for Alex, I have not seen the abovementioned when he gets all frustrated, sad, or angry. He doesn't hit or bite, or merajuk, or yell back - but he would cry.
He cries because he is frustrated that he doesn't get to eat that ice-cream.
He cries because he has to shower first before he gets to take his pacifier.
He cries when other kids snatched his toys.
He cries when Sofia takes his chair.
That is his way of handling the difficult emotions because he is 3-years old, and still figuring a way to handle them on his own. I should be thankful (and I am now) that he does not hit back or yell or bite people every time he gets upset.
I felt so guilty after realizing this because all this while when he has his crying moment, I would try my best to shut them down and I told him that he is a big boy now and a big boy cannot simply cry. I must have done it so often that he felt the need to ask me to leave the room because he needed to cry it out - alone.
It made me feel that for him, he thinks that if I stayed in the room with him, all I want to do is to ask him to be quiet and not cry anymore - that I am sort of robbing away his way of letting out his emotions.
I cannot tell you how much that breaks me inside.
It's like Adrian telling me to be quiet every time I cry because I got upset or frustrated with something or at someone. He does not okay. If Adrian finds me crying, he will hug me and let me cry it out.
So, I should be like this to my son all the time - no matter how tiring it can get.
Also because of this, I now realize that my son is a (much more) sensitive person, and if he needs to cry it out to get rid of his frustration, I should (and will) let him do so.
With that said, since I will not stop him from letting out his emotions, what I think I can do is teaching him to cry at the right place. Hah. Like if he needs to cry it out, then he should do it in a room or something, and most importantly, I need him to know that it is not a punishment to cry inside a room - instead of crying in public out loud. Hah. Still kena control place sikit.
It's like if Alex needs to yell his feelings off, I would probably get him a pillow and ask him to yell into it till he is fully done. Heh. I will not like to ask him not to yell because then, how else would he let off his frustration, right?
I don't know la. I need to keep trying for sure.
Parenting is really one of the toughest (if not toughest) things ever because there is not black and white eh. Every child is different and you have to try every method to see what works and let us not forget the constant worry of what if the method leads them to traumatic experiences and all. Hah.
At least now I know for sure how I am going to handle the entire crying thing with him.
FYI - I say all this about my son but that does not mean I do not love him or love him less. There is absolutely nothing in this world that can make me love him lesser than I already am. If anything, I will always love him more and more - like to an insane amount of which I never thought a human can contain.
And for you mothers (and fathers) reading this, if you are also struggling like us in this part of parenting, we are with you. Do not get discouraged when you keep 'failing' okay. You are not failing that is for sure. You are trying and we are all always trying and learning.
Adrian and I believe in taking breaks in between these parenting daily things because we don't want to be burned out. For me, an ideal 'break' would be taking a 2D1N staycation but we all know that is not possible because I would miss them too much.
We got this, people!
Till next time, bye now.