So today I learned something. I have known for quite some time that my children and their peculiarities are teaching me and I have thought that this must be the reason I was gifted them. You see I love all three of my kiddos but the tantruming three year old that was my Alina became a Fearsome 4 year old. Pretty soon we had a scary seven year old. It escalated to an out of control 8 year old. It took time, some serious parenting restructuring and the help of my handy dandy Young Living Essential Oils to make progress to a Nuanced nine year old.
Nuanced? What could she possibly mean by that? Well of course I will tell you. I mean she has learned some subtlety and methods to calm herself down when she gets angry. I mean that she is not always my zero to sixty kid any more. I mean that she is able to express hurt as hurt not just as anger. I mean that she is able to be angry with me without being a danger to herself, We do still have times of out of control, but they make their appearance much less often.
The part I struggle with most and what most don't totally understand is what it means to have a nuanced child and watch her interacting with peers. When I see her struggling and I see her wheels turning and then I see the child she is with does not get her at all. They don't get that she has a deep seated sense of justice and right from wrong. She was born with it and she fails to understand anything outside those boundaries. Most children don't necessarily have that...they can often see the gray of life. So they don't get all the fuss. They don't get that it crushes her to think someone would do that to someone else because it would not occur to her to do that, There are times though we have had to point out that her sense of justice has been one way. In other words she sees how it is hurtful when someone else does it, but fails to see how its hurtful when she does the same thing. It's nuanced because though we see the situations as the same she sees them as different because the circumstances are not EXACTLY the same. If I as an adult struggle with this and have had to find patience I didn't know I could have, how can I possibly expect a child to understand this?
They just don't. From another parents perspective it is unreasonable for me to even ask them to try to teach their children that with some people you need to see deeper and think harder. Most of the time other kids just choose to find a new friend,one that doesn't expect so much of them. This struggle among peers means that in our family we struggle too. Play often can become war because Izabella is a sister, and sisters know just how to push your buttons. I can not tell you the sheer number of times their littlest petshop dolls have been confiscated until a peace time treaty was signed and many chores done. It has affected Holidays too making them that extra bundle of fun having to explain to cousins that their cousin isn't like them and they need to add an extra dose of compassion to their interaction. Mostly it falls on deaf ears, So we brace ourselves for every large group activity because we know our girl and we know for certain that she will be the loudest in a conflict and always viewed as unreasonable because of it.
Today though a ray of light came home. That ray of light and hope was Izabella. Oh you would not have known it when she got off the bus because that ray of light was disguised as a storm cloud. She explained she was mad because kids were being mean to Alina at school and she defended her sister, Then they got mad at her because everyone thought Alina was the unreasonable one.
There was a few hours between the bus and home where we could finally talk. What came out of my daughters mouth confirmed for me what I have thought for a long time. People are put in our lives to teach us something. I always selfishly thought it was about what I needed to learn, All the while Izabella has been learning and tucking nuggets of truth away in her heart. What came out of that 11 year old's mouth showed a wisdom many adults don't have.
I won't go into all the details of the school yard interaction. I will just share with you what Izabella shared with me. "I tried to explain to them mom, that Alina isn't like everyone else. That she has had to deal with a lot in her life that they don't understand. I tried to explain that she has seizures and all that medication was such a burden for her. They don't get it mom. I told them 'look she has anger issues but it isn't all her fault and we need to learn how to be around her.' I explained mom that when you get louder she is going to get louder and then of course she will always look like the unreasonable one. She will always look like the one who is out of control. The truth is mom she just wants to be heard and if you keep your voice calm and hear her out she doesn't get so loud. We have had to learn that in our home and watching today I got it mom we all need to work on keeping our voice calm because then Alina can keep her voice calm. She can't handle people yelling at her. I get that that is what you have been telling me"
I stared with my mouth open and tears welling, I didn't know that is what I had been telling Bella because mostly I think I said something like "Bella quit bossing your sister!" or "Bella I don't need you to be mom." or "Bella it's better for you to stay out of it!"
I didn't know I had communicated something else because when the situations arise at home my stress goes up and I struggle and having to deal with an 11 year old "helping" me just puts me over the top. So today I learned that we are all learning from each other. Alina is learning too. I don't want anyone reading this to think she hasn't made worlds of progress, anyone who has watched our busstop progress knows we are in a far better space than a year ago, Today though Alina says, "I admit it mom I did yell and it probably seemed unreasonable and I know I need to work on that." she continued "I breathed with Veronica (the noon duty) and I was ok."
I am amazed daily by my children. I am excited for who they are becoming. I have said for a long time I would rather raise a good person than the smartest or prettiest person....the world needs more good people. I know the lessons my kids are learning from each other they will carry into the world and they will make a positive difference. Just shining a light and helping others see the world from another angle...that is huge.