Monday, October 16, 2017

Trying to Explain What He's Thinking

C made several kids cry a couple weekends ago.

One friend cried when C pushed him into the little pond/marsh-puddle out behind our barn.

The next day C tried to eat a friend's snack during class at church. The friend cried as her snack disappeared.

Minutes after the snack-stealing, C took off his sock and stuck it in another friend's face. She cried, too.

In some ways, there's a bit of humor hanging out at the edges of these episodes. The pushing-friend-into-pond episode was probably AFV worthy.  And the sock-in-the-girl's-face episode - really, isn't that so typical boy!?

It's hard to laugh, though, when the other kids aren't laughing. It's hard to laugh when my little guy makes his friends cry.

Of course we try to explain to C's friends that he isn't trying to be mean.

To the friend in the pond - C likes to watch kids splash in water, and since his cousins were so great at humoring him in the swimming pool over the summer, C now thinks that every kid likes to be pushed into water. "If he pushes you, he likes you," I explained.
To the friend with the stolen snack - C likes snacks, and he doesn't understand that he can't eat whatever food he sees. He thinks that if food is sitting near him, then he can eat it.
To the friend smelling C's sock - Well, I didn't have a pacifying explanation for that one! I think he really was trying to tease her. I didn't even try the "If he makes you smell his sock, he likes you" explanation on her.

The thing is, as I was trying to smooth over C's actions to his friends, I was gut-punched with the realization that I had no idea if my explanations were anywhere close to what C would say if he could explain himself.

I was guessing. I'm always guessing. I'm always putting words in his mouth.

I think I know why C pushed his friend in the pond. I think it was a friendly game of I-push-and-you-splash-and-we-both-laugh, but I don't know that for sure. There's always the possibility that C really was annoyed with his friend. I prefer the first explanation, but maybe he was feeling grumpy.

As C gets older, and I see those wheels turning inside his head, I realize what a responsibility it is to speak for him and interpret his actions for him to others.

He's not a baby. He has opinions and ideas and games he likes to play. He wants to communicate for himself.
I see more and more the tightrope we walk as we advocate and translate for him while we also try not to overshadow who he is and what he's saying through actions or word attempts.

It was a sad weekend to see C's friends cry. I think it was one of the first times when my explanations didn't make a difference. C's friends walked away still crying, still upset with him.

It was a guilt-ridden weekend. I couldn't stop mulling over what I should have done differently to avoid the tears in the first place.

It was an eye-opening weekend in realizing that my well-thought-out explanations may be completely wrong.

Believe it or not, it was a good weekend, too. I'm more aware of the responsibility of translating for C. I'm more aware that his thoughts are probably not the same as mine, and I need to do my best to communicate his thoughts, not mine.

And really, that sock in the face - how can you not laugh at that?! Sorry his little friend had to deal with the smell (and we'll work on curbing that action), but it's awesome to see some typical boy antics! He's reaching new developmental milestones all in his own time!
And as always I am reminded that my thoughts are also not the same as the thoughts of my Creator. He is magnificent in his splendor, his wisdom, his goodness, and love. I cannot fully comprehend his ways or his thoughts. But he knows my boy's thoughts perfectly. I can rest in that.

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