Monday, October 13, 2008

Paying attention

It isn't really a phrase I have thought that much about. PAYING attention. Like paying money. Or time. It is work to pay attention. It is not enough to just be there and half-assed check in while pretending to be focused. You have to PAY the attention.

Pablo is in the midst of a hooooorible regression. Things may be looking up, but it has been an amazingly hard... month. Or two. I can't remember because it has been THAT stressful. We attribute it mainly to his sister becoming mobile, but who knows the ultimate cause. We have made some changes, in the onslaught of tantrums, refusing to sleep/eat/respond to us in any way. Some have been really good. Some I am not comfortable with. (Today I got out my slew of parenting books in an effort to cope. I didn't find any fast answers, but I decided to reread all my favorites so I can stop being part of the problem.)

It has become clear to me that as he has withdrawn, I have let him. Too much. It has been easier on me to not have two kids demanding me at the same time. But it occured to me that the less attention I payed to him (to be clear, he wasn't ASKING for it), the more tantrums he had.

Today I PAYED attention. It was tiring. I did have something for me to do nearby for when he totally ignored me, but the fact was, he ate it up. We spent the morning playing and playing and playing. We played chess (newly learning, still upset by the fact that pieces get captured). We played Othello. He was kicking my ass but inexplicably wanted to stop halfway through. We played all kinds of pretend games, told stories, and generally had a great time. In the afternoon he became obsessed with a color by number book and ignored me for over an hour. Then he asked me to "hang out" with him. He still mostly ignored me, but we chatted.

Pablo had a great day, and so did I. We loved spending time together. I payed attention to him.

Wonder why the baby was so grumpy all day....

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