Week 48: Anger, Snuggles and Resolutions

This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. Once a week (or there abouts), I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.

#1 Connect better with the scalawags, according to their Love Languages

It’s not often that you will find me in despair, so bear with me for a bit. I might need to vent a little bit. You’ll find hopeful Lily again soon, but today she just needs to worry.

Several weeks ago, I mentioned my eldest was having some trouble going to his music theory class, because he had internalized a scolding that had been directed at another child, and this triggered some kind of anxiety in him.

Well, we dealt with it then. He was able to be brave and tell the teacher to “Not yell.” But it happened again. Pure panic. If I had never seen what a panic attack looked like before, I have now.

But it is no longer limited to music class. There was a substitute teacher who yelled at the kids. My child disintegrated.

Then at his beloved track and field practice, the coach had to put a few wild kids back in line. My child disintegrated.

Then music school again. He disintegrated.

When these moments of helplessness appear, and I am faced with the reality of my own powerlessness to help this child, it makes me so angry. My anger doesn’t help the situation, obviously. My being angry doesn’t make him less sensitive. It doesn’t do a single thing to make the rowdy kids calm down. It doesn’t inform the other adults in the situation that they are responsible for a child who takes their every word for himself.

Not to mention that he has developed quite a mouth on him. He can’t stand it when I ask him questions at the end of the day, trying to sound out what possible sources of anxiety might rear their ugly heads next. He pushes me away, then verbally makes sure I want to stay away.

So I have been thinking a lot lately about how to love this child through these crises and anxiety attacks, because my anger doesn’t make it easy, and his reactions to my efforts make it nearly impossible.

I can only speak words of affirmation so much. I can only spend so much time. My fluency in his languages comes up short.

A little voice in my heart whispered, “when all else fails, speak your love language.” A weird thought, because my love language is touch, and this kid doesn’t generally like to be touched. He’s like a cat who doesn’t want to be petted, and lowers his back to avoid your touch.

It was morning, and no crisis had yet erupted. I went into his room, where he was sitting on his beanbag chair. I sat down next to him, and asked if he wanted to sit on my lap. To my astonishment, the answer was yes. He curled up on my lap and let me hold him for a good five minutes.

If nothing else, it was five minutes during which we weren’t angry or fighting. At best, we were quietly reinforcing our foundation of trust and affection.

I tried again the next day, and this time he didn’t resist either. We sat on the couch, the same couch I used to snuggle him in when he was a teeny tiny baby. Just a few moments, but it was enough.

The next day again. This time we were sitting on the floor, and he draped himself across me.

This hasn’t solved the panic attacks yet, and I’m not sure that is what the snuggles were designed to do. But they have provided us a few minutes each day to re-affirm our mutual affection before he starts getting mouthy and panicky, and before I start getting angry.

I never would have imagined in a million years that snuggles would be his love language. And maybe they aren’t…maybe he is getting fluent at mine, and these few minutes are his way of practicing.

Oh my goodness. Maybe he is snuggling me to show me he loves me.

Oh my goodness. Maybe love really does make a difference.

#14 Mise en Place and Weekly Planning

I finished gluing my pages for the first half of 2023 into my planner. I have started transferring over everything I know will be happening in 2023.

I have started thinking about what kind of resolutions I want to make for 2023. While this year it was 22 in 22, I think I might have seen too big. I want to think small in 2023.

Here are a few ideas for 2023:

  • Live out the Golden Rule in everything
  • Manage my creative ebbs and flows and plan for them
  • Find small ways to rest and recuperate
  • Love, love, love, love, love.

Episode 63: Foresight Sing With Your Feet

This week, we look at how we can love ourselves better by planning ahead.
  1. Episode 63: Foresight
  2. Episode 62: Memory
  3. Episode 61: Novelty
  4. Episode 60: How to Have Great Sex
  5. Episode 59: I Have A Theory

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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