Use Your Words

I decided to surprise my son and pick him up from his Cubbies program at church last night.  I don’t see him much on Wednesdays because he goes to Grammy and Pa’s house before I get home and then to Cubbies.  My mom helps out at church during the program and then brings him home afterwards.  Yesterday I hadn’t seen him at all because he slept in and was still asleep when I left in the morning.   So I wanted to pick him up so we’d have a little time together before bed.

“Hi, Bubby!” I smiled and gave him a big hug when I got there.  They had just turned the lights back on after playing a game with glow sticks in the dark, part of “Star Wars” night.

I had expected him to light up when he saw me, give me a big hug, yell, “Mommy!” But instead he got that look on his face that says, “I’m not happy with this situation,” turned his back to me and stomped down the hallway.

“Bubby?  What’s wrong?”  He had stopped at the end of the hallway, his arms folded across his chest.  His jaw was set, chin pushed slightly up in the air. “Bubby, I came to get you because I haven’t seen you all day.  What’s wrong?  I thought this would be a good surprise.”

I went to give him a hug, but he slid to the ground and started crying.  “I need you to use your words and tell me what’s wrong,” I said, kneeling down.

“I wanted Grammy to get me,” he wailed.

“But why?” This is not the happy reception I was expecting, I thought to myself.

“Because she was going to get a game for me to play.” The mention of this game brought on a new wave of sobs.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but I could see it was clearly something important to him.  I was feeling frustrated and disappointed with the situation, but took a deep breath.

“Okay, well, let’s go find Grammy and find out about this game.” I helped him up and held his hand as we walked back down the hall.  He sniffled a little, but the tears had stopped.  We went back to the Cubbies room to get his jacket and found my mom in there.

“He’s upset about some game you were going to get him?” I asked.

“Oh,  yeah, one of the volunteers was going to bring Ker-Plunk for him.” My mom found the person with the game and then handed the game over to my son.  He was suddenly all smiles.

“Are we ready to go home now?” I asked.  He nodded, chatting away about how we was going to set up the game before he went to bed so that we could play it first thing in the morning.  “You see, Bubby, you’ve just got to use your words.  I didn’t know what you wanted when you stomped off, but when you used your words to tell me about the game we solved the problem. Next time you feel frustrated, remember to use your words!”

“Okay, Mommy, I’ll try to remember,” he replied happily.

I know he will try, but I also know we will have this conversation again in the near future because this isn’t the first time we’ve had it.  Growing up is a lot of work!

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4 thoughts on “Use Your Words

  1. Growing up is hard, you are right. And it is often a mystery to parents, sometimes more than they would like. I’m glad he got his game, and you had the opportunity for another talk about using words!

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  2. “Use your words.” One of those phrases we repeat often as parents and teachers! Your words captured your son’s–and your–frustration, and the solution, in a very relatable manner. Thanks for sharing this moment with us!

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  3. So sweet (and totally frustrating and disappointing too!). I really am impressed by how descriptive you were especially in the part where you first start asking him what’s wrong.

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