Ugh. Avery is a huge mess of grumpy, defiant, stubborn, loud, feisty compulsiveness. Before we hit this week and a half of sickness he had settled into an almost at times compliant, sweet, often obedient little boy. Then the coughing came, and then the puking, and then the diarrhea, coupled with the fact that he wasn't eating or drinking and he became quite a grumpy bear through all of that.
Anybody would. It's a natural by-product of being sick - when your body doesn't feel good then your demeanor usually shows it. Big deal. Except this is Avery and Avery is a different personality from my other boys. With my other boys - when they hit that sick patch, I can ease up on discipline siting their overall yuckiness as a valid excuse for their behavior and not skip much of a beat in returning to our pre-sickness expectations once their yucky feelings start to subside.
Avery on the other hand needs that consistency or everything you had spent the time and energy to teach him over the past several months begins to unravel. And boy are we unraveling. I eased up too much over these last few days and it is showing! I keep thinking of those times that I am sitting and rolling up a ball of yarn that I sometimes need to do through my crocheting process - and I am getting fairly far into it and then my fingers goof up and the ball slips away from me and goes tumbling to the floor unraveling all of that tedious work. Right now, with Avery, I am just at that moment where I catch the ball of yarn and restart that tedious process again.
He is sooo stubborn. This last battle that resulted in dehydration magnified that fact to me 10 fold. He doesn't care what you say, how you ask or the reasoning behind it...if he doesn't want to do it, he's not doing it. You can lead a horse to water....
My dad went with us to the emergency room that night and witnessed this stubborn boy at one of his most stubborn moments. Picture me holding this child in my lap, cradling him in my arms, fighting his flailing arms and legs and taking the pedialite popsicle that the nurse gave to us and forcibly shoving it into my child's mouth - my last ditch effort to get fluids inside of him the "natural" way - before agreeing to the IV. Upon witnessing this behavior my dad said something to the effect of, "kid, I hope that when you're bigger, you get to be stubborn about the right things."
I have often said this about strong-willed children - that when they are older and taught right from wrong we will be glad for this trait because then they will be strong-willed about the right things. But this last experience has made me much more alert to the possiblities ahead of us regarding Avery. That night he knew that he should obey mom, he knew that he was sick and he was told that we were trying to help him to get better, but he also knew that his belly hurt and he wanted to prevent that pain. He stubbornly sacrificed what he knew to be right to avoid dealing with the problem. He was shutting down. It made me realize that much more how fervently I need to be praying for Avery.
I always knew that he would require more energy from me as a parent, even when he was a newborn - he's always been high-maintenance. But this past week, between the attempted potty training and the sickness issues, Avery has shown me that he will need an extra measure of discipline, an extra measure of consistency and an extra measure of prayer that he will hold tight to what he knows to be right no matter the pain involved.
I will be picking up that ball of yarn and starting to re-wind all that has unraveled, but this time I will need to remember to place my work into the hands of Someone much more capable than me!