As an update to my last post: it did not go well.
I’d love to say that I rocked being quiet and loving my kids with actions and deep eye-gazing, but not so. It seems I like talking, and rely on it, more than I even understood. In fact, it felt inauthentic to zip it – to me and to my kids. In my attempts to communicate without speaking I succeeded in making my 12 year old squirm away and my five year old cry. Lily, my 9 year old daughter who loves a snuggle more than anything, didn’t mind. Any attention I give her is accepted with such gladness of heart that she could clearly use more. But sweet little Mae was fully creeped out.
It could have been poor timing: on a Saturday morning as I lay in bed, she burst into my room to lament over her missing book mark. The sadness seemed overly intense; she was clearly not in a good place. And I chose that instant to fit in some face time.
I tried to force a special moment instead of simply listening to my kid. Understandably, it felt weird. Mommy is suddenly staring at me. Why is she touching my face? I just want to know where my book mark went. And the tears flowed.
Luke, my oldest, my pre-teen, my boy, also loves a hug anytime of day. But staring into his sea-blue eyes is a different story. What? What? What the heck? Which makes sense. In the middle of the day, Mom stops and stares and doesn’t say a word. Something is up. She usually (like all her children) can’t stop talking. I must be in trouble.
So, some takeaways…
1. Stare into Lily’s eyes and give her a smooch several times a day. It makes her feel loved and she can’t get enough.
2. Luke and Mae don’t need that as much, but they need it. At bedtime, when it feels more normal to snuggle and be face to face is a great time for quiet and to just be with them. That makes sense, to everyone. Not awkwardly in the middle of the day. That doesn’t.
3. I like to talk and that’s ok. My kids are used to me blabbing, and not talking feels cold and distant. Like I’m mad. So I’ll just be myself and jabber away.
All good things to know.
My hypothesis was wrong. Silent communication isn’t always better; sometimes it’s creepy. That’s what makes the organic moments of quiet and the bedtime tracing of the face mean something. I can love them the way I love them naturally, with a little added on for my snuggly middle child. It’s not as complicated as I thought.
I’m so glad I figured that out.