PUT ON A HAPPY FACE

My husband is traveling for the first time since Cole had his surgery. I usually look forward to his travels because I enjoy having the time alone with Cole. We both do. It’s sort of nice to just have to focus on Cole’s needs, and mine, and Cole’s usually pretty happy to have the extra time with me so he’s super easy going.

Not so this time! He’s struggling. Since starting school a couple of weeks ago, his post-school routine is to get home and melt down. The melt down translates to tears, whining, whimpering, and stress. General upset. He can’t control it and he can’t calm down. I had this thought that he’d be super happy to have me at home early with him and to himself (he usually is) and that I’d get a different afternoon but that’s not the case this time.

Despite every effort I’ve not been successful in changing this new routine of his, although last night I did manage to gain some understanding of it. He doesn’t exhibit this behavior at school or in homework club. He holds himself together, despite being uncomfortable, sometimes in pain, tired, and nervous at school. He works really hard not to let that show at school. So he dissolves into a puddle of release when he gets home.

The only thing that seems to help is to let him soak in the bath, watching cooking videos, for a very long time…we’re talking two hours…cooled water…just leaving him be in the tub (actually on top of the water, on a bath chair that is too small for him)…and no bubbles!

It breaks my heart that there’s not much I can do for him and that he feels like he needs to present himself as being so fine in front of his peers and teachers. I don’t think anyone would judge him for having a hard time after the summer he’s had and whilst his body is still very much healing. I don’t know where his determination comes from, or why he feels he needs to put on a happy face? What is it inside him that has made him recognize that this form of survival?

It fascinates me that he can make the determination of when and where and around whom to smile for. He’s not opposed to misery while out and about in random public places, but when it’s peers, he’s loath to be anything but okay. It’s a rarity for him to cry, or fuss in front his friends, unless he’s really confident that they’ll understand or not judge him. We do have some family friends who do occasionally get a glimpse of his not so happy face, but they’re friends who have become more like family.

He’s a strange and fascinating boy. I so wish I had more access to the inner workings of that beautiful brain of his!

2 Responses

  1. He sounds like such an awesome kiddo. He must get his strength from both you and your husband. He knows you all are his safe place, and with you all he can be himself. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you! It sounds like your boys have a terrific mom!

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