Oh how I wish I could understand the way my boy thinks. I want to know how he feels things. But that’s for me; not for him. Whether or not I ever understand his inner workings, the bigger issue is that he knows that his thoughts and feelings are important. It’s a terrible thing not to feel validated. To have people treat you like your thoughts or feelings either don’t matter or are just plain wrong. I know. Now I’m not saying that some thoughts and feelings aren’t incorrect but you should be allowed to acknowledge what you feel or want and then a conversation can be had which may or may not change things.
I say all that to say, Jay woke up on Saturday morning and wanted a carrot.
I tried asking him, but I couldn’t figure out what it was about carrots. All I know is that he was determined. He asked to go to the store for a carrot. I told him that I would get him a carrot later.
Words like “later” don’t have much meaning to Jay so he pressed me further. He needed to know when exactly. He doesn’t process in terms of time but he does process in terms of the order that things happen in.
So I told him, first I would do some cleaning and then we would get ready, then we would drive to New York and pick up Aunty then we could go to the store.
That he understood and could follow. He even helped to clean up. I’m assuming that was to speed up the process.
As we did each thing he knew he was one step closer to getting what he wanted (needed?).
After we got dressed he said “Now we go to New York and get Aunty then the store?” Yes baby.
Once we were through the tunnel (and therefore in NY) he said “Now we get Aunty and go to the store?” Yes baby.
When my sister got into the car his excitement was palpable. He knew what was coming next and he couldn’t wait. She tried to take a selfie of herself in the passenger seat with the 2 boys in the back seat but Jay wanted no part of her picture. He said “No picture. We go to the store.” It didn’t matter that taking a picture wasn’t delaying him. It just wasn’t a part of the plan. I told her that after he got his carrot I was sure he’d take a picture then. Right then he was focused on his carrot. He’d waited patiently all morning for it. It was now around noon.
At the supermarket I bought Jay a bag of carrots and he was delighted. He spent the entire rest of the day walking around with his carrots and looking at his carrots and touching his carrots and showing us his carrots.
There are certainly times when he can’t get what he wants. Buying him an entire bag of carrots that no-one is going to eat may seem ridiculous to someone but it’s not. Even though I want to, I don’t understand the why behind his actions/desires but that’s immaterial. What’s not immaterial? Through my actions, my son knows that his desires are not ridiculous and they are as important as anyone elses. They are just as important as more typical and generally accepted desires such as a kid wanting ice-cream when they hear an ice-cream truck or not being able to resist the pull of a muddy puddle.
Ace thought it was all very funny. Of all the things in the world he couldn’t fathom ever asking for a carrot. Not when Hot Wheel Cars and Legos and candy exist. I understand how he feels. I understand the draw of toys and candy. I totally get it when Ace gets excited about going away on a trip. I’m right there with him when all he wants is to be outside having fun with other people all day. I’m wired that same way. But that doesn’t make Ace’s interests/concerns/feelings any more valid than Jay’s just because my brain works like his does. And that’s really the point that I hope I made here.