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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cwying Tank You Much

Poor Jerome. Being the fifth child, he doesn't get the sympathy we might have offered to Alexander. Mostly because we've seen all the fake crying and fits that children can do, so he has to work harder when he's trying to manipulate us.

When he is upset with how things are going (ie. not his way), he will fake cry and say "cwying, cwying," you know, in case we didn't notice the no tears wailing performance he's putting on for us. Very occasionally, he will say this when he is genuinely sad, or hurt or needy, and then it is truly pathetic and really does tug at our hearts.

We are not heartless, it's just that we've seen pretty much every act and deception that a child can come up with to try to get his way, even when that way is bad for him or will hurt him. The other night, though, Jerome woke up crying and sad, and was thirsty. I came and gave him a hug and he said to me "Muk pease" in a little sad boy voice. I said that I couldn't give him a cup of milk in his crib at night, but that I'd bring him water. Then he started screaming at me, "No!" and told me he was cwying. When I brought him the water, he threw the cup at his crib slats and screamed some more. So, I gave him a hug and a kiss and laid him down, with his cup beside him in hopes that he would drink it and go to sleep. He did rather quickly, but it was heart wrenching nonetheless.

What is somewhat funny about this is that just that morning, at church, he had seen another little girl who is about two months younger than he is, crying and acting fussy and he immediately said "Nap!" He's gotten pretty good at evaluating when he needs a nap, and he'll fuss and start to be fractious and actually request a nap. This is a new thing to us, none of our other children ever acknowledged their need for naps this way.

He's much better at getting his way when he is sweet and mannerly. We do encourage this, because we figure it's better to let him have his way, within reason, for asking politely and being nice than for screaming, fake crying and being melodramatic. So, the same day as his nap pronouncement for Kyrie at church and his sad little fit in the middle of the night, he said "Tank you much!" to me when I brought him a piece of bread to go with his dinner. I said "You are very welcome!" quite enthusiastically, and praised him for his good manners, which of course led to him saying it repeatedly and laughing. I am encouraged by this.

He is mostly a sweet boy, who has his moments. Because he is so verbal, his moments are getting fewer and farther in between, which is nice. He is almost as verbal as Amira was at this age, and more verbal than Alexander was, and those two were our most articulate babies. In fact, we're pretty sure that some of the things they got in trouble for were because they were so articulate and could say the things that perhaps their brothers thought but couldn't use words to describe.

Amira once got in quite a bit of trouble at just a little older than Jerome is now, because after she and Elijah were warned about their behaviour at the lunch table by both their father and me, she continued and then said in a little taunting voice to Elijah "I'm disobeying!" She learned what the consequences of such cheeky attitudes were. Elijah, two years older than she was, probably thought exactly the same thing, but couldn't really form a sentence about it.

Jerome is very much like her verbally, but more easily consoled, it's kind of the best of both worlds. We understand him more, he's able to express himself more, but he's not as volatile. He also doesn't seem to take the same pleasure in disobedience that she did. Fortunately, she grew out of most of that, and we've trained much of the rest out of her. Since we have less of that to deal with in Jerome, I'm hoping we have a head start on it.

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