I should be taking a shower right now, but I have to get this out before I can move on with my day.
My oldest child is … out-of-the-box. Some people call him a firecracker, a character, balls-to-the-wall, over-the-top, or they will just say, “Wow — he’s something else.”
He will yell at me from the back of our van, “Hurry UP Mommy! I’m growing a beard back here!” He will strip down to his underwear and yell, “HAVE I GOT A SHOW FOR YOU!” He’s always yelling, because he has one volume and that is loud.
He says things for shock value and waits for a reaction. He talks over everyone else. He thinks he knows more than any adult out there, he’s a backseat driver and a boss-around-er and knows the lyrics to a lot of my favorite top 40 songs. Then he changes the lyrics to make the song applicable to whatever is happening around him.
It takes time to see what I’m talking about, because generally he is very mannerly and well-behaved around people he doesn’t know well. Unless there is a stage nearby, and then all bets are off because my Maverick hearts a stage.
He is many, many things for a 5-year-old boy. I can already see how complicated of a person he is, all the different fabrics weaving together to make up his hilarious and infuriating personality. I am grateful that he is our firstborn, I am grateful that he gives me stories to tell, and I am grateful that he is forgiving because I often feel like I’m not very good at mothering him.
Maverick has been terrible the past few days. I mean straight up BAD, and I don’t like to use that word to describe my children. I spent a lot of time thinking about what the problem might be. Was he tired? Was he getting sick? I couldn’t spend long thinking about it before he was bashing his little brother over the head again or screaming “NO!!“ at me when I asked him to do something. Trying to prepare for Christmas with a houseful of kids, one of whom is acting like an outright tyrant, sucked.
To make a long and painful story short, I reached rock bottom of motherhood as we all do from time to time when we completely lose our shit and scare the children. I went to my bathroom to calm down and thought about how we couldn’t keep doing this. It wasn’t working, I didn’t know what was wrong with my kid, but I had figure out how to make it stop because I am the adult and that is my job.
I went in the kitchen and I pulled him onto my lap and just sat in silence hugging him. His body melted into mine like he had been waiting for that hug for his entire life. He needed THAT. He needed me to look at him and tell him how much I love him and how important he is to me. Him, Maverick. Not “all of you” or “you and your brother and sister.” Just him.
And before you judge me for not doing that sooner, which is what I would have wondered two or three kids ago — why doesn’t this chick think of things like hugging her kids when they are upset?! — let me point out that when you’re in survival mode things don’t occur to you like they would if you were in a normal state. So unless you want to come over here and get the pee smell out of my guest bathroom, SHUT IT.
I don’t yet understand the inner workings of Maverick’s mind and I haven’t mastered the art of meeting his needs before we go on a 5-day bender of absolute hell … but I do know this. My children do not need more toys. They don’t need their every whim to be met on Christmas morning. My children need me to hug them and take the time to let them know that they are important. I am ashamed that I have been too wrapped up in baking cookies and making lists to give my child the reassurance that he needed for whatever reason.
Tomorrow morning, Maverick will get the spaceship that he has been wanting for the past two years. But more importantly, he will get lots and lots of hugs.