Last week, Matthew was sick. It was very strange–must have been a virus or something. Basically, he would get a fever of around 100 sometime in the afternoon or evening. I would give him one dose of Advil and then the fever would break very quickly and return about 24 hours later. Aside from some mild lethargy and a decreased appetite, there were no other symptoms, but this went on for about 4 days. It was really strange. Because of the fever, we kept Matthew home from church last Sunday and from school on Tuesday.
Here’s the really strange part though–right about the time the fever was gone for good and we knew he was better, he spiraled downward into a terrible mood, he began having night terrors again, and his behavior was really, really bad. Getting him ready for school reached nightmarish levels and he was being bad for his teachers as well. And as it was happening, I remembered that this has happened before, following other illnesses.
This has really perplexed me. I could understand this kind of behavior and regression while sick…..I still wouldn’t like it, but somehow, I could understand it. But to be for the most part fine (emotionally) while sick, but lose it once his health improves–that is odd.
But yesterday, I was washing dishes and I thought of something. I don’t know why it came to me, but suddenly I remembered when Isaac was 7 months old and I weaned him. For almost all of the 7 months, Isaac NEVER, EVER took a bottle. He would only drink from the breast and it was getting pretty limiting as far as me having any kind of a life. Every time we tried to give him a bottle, he would scream, cry, tantrum and refuse it for HOURS. Dude was stubborn! But the thing was, after all those hours, when he finally took the bottle, he would take it happily for each feeding after that. But the kicker was, if I let him nurse even once, the next time I tried to give him the bottle, we went through the same screaming and refusing it for hours. So it was like he was fine once he resigned himself to the bottle, but when I nursed him, I gave him a glimmer of hope that the bottle was gone and he could nurse to his heart’s content. For baby Isaac, it could never be either/or. It was one or it was the other. So at 7 months I weaned him.
So how does this relate to Matthew and our current situation? Well, we deal with lots of control issues with Matthew. And I would say that finally, finally, this past summer, he (for the most part) relinquished control to Jason and I. And when I say “relinquished” I mean that Jason and I were always in control, it’s just that he finally began to accept it. After 18 months, he finally realized that he didn’t have to fight us on every single thing. There are things that he makes his will known on, for instance, he will tell us EVERY SINGLE week that he doesn’t want to go to church (even though he clearly loves it) and he will tell us that he doesn’t want to go to school (even though he clearly loves it).
So when we kept him home from church and out of school this week when he was sick, he went on a major power trip. You could see him puff up with pride as if he had called those shots. Since he wasn’t all that sick, he was still able to play and go about his day, but he missed school and church, two of the things he always makes it known that he doesn’t want to do.
And lo and behold, it was like he thought, here we go, I’m calling the shots now, I’m running this place.
So you can imagine the jolt he felt on Wednesday when I woke him up for school. Let’s just say it involved hitting, screaming, tantrums, and crying until he gagged. And that was all before I got him out of his bedroom.
After 3 days of acting out in dramatic ways and 2 nights of night terrors, he’s back to his regular self, again resigned to the fact that we are the adults and we will be making decisions. The end.
And so it is for Matthew just like it was for Baby Isaac. There will be no either/or. We call the shots around here, kid, like it or not. Sometimes it works against your agenda and sometimes you dig it. But in the end, it is our call, our decision, and most importantly, it is always, always for your best interest.
Like it or not, this is one of the ways we show you that we love you.
And we do. And there’s nothing you can do to stop us.