Grasping his small sweaty hand in mine, we navigate through the crowds at Disney World. There are people everywhere. It is HOT and it is LOUD. We are both tired and we are trying to find somewhere to wait on Dewey while he rides a roller coaster. Our eyes scan the crowd and I see a bench that is, thankfully, in the shade. We sink down between two other families. Evan starts spraying his Disney fan sprayer EVERYWHERE. On me, in his mouth, on the ground, everywhere.
Honestly it was annoying but I bit my tongue. Know why? I’m trying my best to catch him in the act of being good instead of always focusing on the moments when he is exhibiting bad behaviour.
You see, we haven’t had an easy few years. School is not easy for Evan for a few different reasons. I’m not going to write about those reasons because they are his business and this is about ME not him. You see, he is who he is. Some of his behaviours he can help and some he can’t. None of that is something I can change.
That’s right. Let me say that again.
None of that is something I can change. That sentence goes against everything I thought I knew about parenting. I was sure that Evan’s behaviour had everything to do with me. If he acted perfectly then it *must* be because I am a good mom. Conversely, if he doesn’t then it must mean I am a terrible mom. Right? Wrong! I can read every book and do everything perfectly right (not that I do but I could…in theory) and Evan can still decide how he behaves in any given moment. Not me. There isn’t a button on his forehead that I can push to reboot his behaviour. Oh good lord I wish there was but there isn’t.
So instead of focusing on the bad, I am trying to focus on the good. I will not lie to you and tell you that it is easy or that it has made everything all better. I can tell you that I’ve noticed that the more we talk about his good behaviour, the more good behaviour there is to talk about. Evan seems to be happier in his skin and less prone to think that we are only there to yell at him.
So we have more afternoons like today.
As we walk home from school, I ask Evan how his day was at school. He says “It was GREAT, Mama! I did really great work today. I wrote all about spiders and did you know they have blue blood instead of red?” I said “Well that is interesting! What was your favorite part of school today and what was your least favorite part?” He said “My favorite part was playing Lego at the end of the day and I didn’t have a least favorite part!” I gave him two big high fives and we chatted the rest of the way home.
Baby steps but I’ll take it.