My 4 year old said something interesting to me today, he told me his, “brain feels weird”. You know what? I believe him.
I believe him because when I tune into him through my momtuition, I can feel it.
I heard those words and my body just collapsed. I’ve been running around, doing laundry, trying to prepare us for vacation and he’s been suffering in a corner by himself. He’s overwhelmed and I inhale a pang of guilt over not intervening sooner. Now that I’m aware of his needs, I can feel my head surge… it feels like my entire skull is pulsing. I feel uncomfortable, aching and irritable.
I take a moment and recognize my own frustrations separate from his. Ichabod my two year old just ate my eyeshadow, scribbled in my sacred [journal] space, and chewed a fistful of sand. I’m overrun with the task list and a terribly distracted. I assess the stress in my own body and determine how to move through my exasperation. I take a nice deep breathe, knowing that these sensations need tending to, but Gene needs me more, and he needs me now. I dismiss all of the sensations bogging my heart and turn to Gene. He needs my compassion and attention.
I sit down exactly where I am with him on the floor, scoop him up and just hug the stuff out of him.
I say, “Tell me 1 thing you need right now..”
He puts both arms around my neck and squeezes me, “I don’t know.”
His chest rises and falls and he pats my back.
“I need pirates.”
“Does that mean outside time?”
I know he feels uncomfortable in his own skin, and being outside will soothe the overstimulation. I know he’s having trouble listening to me. I know he can’t always figure out how to regulate his body. I know all of this because I feel it, I see it when he looks at me.
I also know he’s upset at me for pushing his needs aside this morning, and I can’t say I blame him. The best part about Gene is, he’ll verbalize these truths. He’ll expose his hurts and identify exactly how it impacts him, it is my job to take the words to heart.
When we go outside, all sensations that felt stuffy and irritated start to unwind. Along with his brothers, we play pirates on the jungle gym in our yard. I check in to Gene, to the ‘weird brain’ sensation. I ask him to look right into my eyes, he even looks lighter, he’s giggling, playful and outright happier. More importantly, I didn’t even realize how stressed I felt until we got outside. I’m so grateful for his tiny sized intervention, it gave us all a mountain of relief.
“How’s your weird brain, G?”
I know it’s not always easy to put the never-ending to do list on pause. Maybe every situation can’t be settled with a change in environment (or maybe it can!) But what matters is today, and today we play. I also know there are times there is much more going on … But today, in the name of simplicity, all it took was a little tender, love, care, and attention.
It’s not always easy to stop and listen, but I’m getting a little better every day. I have gotten in the habit of checking in with my momtuition in order to make sure I’m meeting my kids’ needs. Today was a hard and fast reminder to take all of my kids’ words, feelings, and actions seriously.
If you think about it, we all suffer from “weird brain” once and a while, and it’s ALWAYS the right time to step away from the mounting stress and embrace the care- free spirited child inside that longs to simply play.