Life With Nine Kids

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sebastian...the boy behind the fits

Two weeks ago Sebastian (5) said, "When I'm a grown up I will still live here because Everett will still need me to take care of him."
How totally precious.

 The other day I saw Everett in our tulip tree out front (the kid climbs up anything). Sebastian stepped under him and said, "I'll catch you!" Everett fell and they both hit the ground flat. Thank goodness they were both laughing and neither one was hurt. It was funny. Like a floppy Grover falling on top of another floppy Grover. Now Everett runs under Penelope and Sebastian when they are on the playground out back and says "I catch you!" He's dangerously copying exactly the brotherly love Sebastian showed him.
Tonight Sebastian had a monster size meltdown after we summoned him inside and took his stick away for the night. It was after he was yelling, being mean and repeated physical hurting/grabbing of people. At first it seemed like we might avoid a big fit but I think I may have exasperated the situation by making a point that I was taking his stick away too. Saying that he had to come in for the night and it was time for him to leave his stick outside (something we do each night anyway) would have been a gentler approach than me saying he had to come inside for the night AND I was taking his stick away too. Subtle difference but the way I made him feel powerless was huge to him. It showed too because he came back with the classic I can do whatever I want line. That totally translates to 'I'm my own person and I don't want to be controlled by you.'
So he yelled and cried for his stick for 15 minutes. I finally calmed him down by cleaning up his room and making jokes about stuff and making small talk with mostly myself. Soon he started up a conversation with me. This isn't always this easy (and 15 minutes is easy with him, he can go on in self-pity, anger, and feeling sad for a A LONG time) but sometimes it is easy. Once he perked up we finished cleaning his room together and then made some popcorn for everyone. Bath time and tooth brushing went smoothly and he was all smiles. I pulled down his covers and he said to me, "Even when I'm a grown up I'll still live here, did you know that?" I said, "Really!? That's cool!" He said, "Yup, I will live here so I can still help out."
I'm sitting here wanting to put into words what hearing that means to me. Since we are so "unfair" and so "mean." Since we aren't the bosses and since we can't tell him what to do, and since he told me last week that he could go run away into the woods if he wants to. To hear he wants to stay, to hear his ideas on why he'll live here when he's a grown up --that he wants to be a part of our family and that he clearly sees value in who he is in the family... it's priceless. He knows he helps, he knows he's loved and wanted. He knows his little brother Everett looks up to him. Penelope is friends with him. The older kids are helpers and buddies to him. His mom and dad feed, clothe, and love him. He is really blinded by it all when he's angry and frustrated, but when he's clear headed and being himself he's our happy, talkative, helpful, and vibrant Sebastian of the family. We wouldn't be the same without him. He's got a tough personality. I love him right through it.
Sebastian when he was three, he has not changed much. He's still an ol' scurvy dog!

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