Sometimes I amaze myself. Usually it’s not in a good way, but more in the "wow. I’m so astonishingly stupid" way. And, the thing is, I’m not stupid. I just sometimes forget to remember what I know, instead acting on impulse or habit or laziness or autopilot and not doing what I have learned will sometimes work.
Well, the past two days Lex has been a total ass. (He knows how I feel about his recent behavior, and while I’ve pulled way, way back on writing about the specifics when it comes to the older kids, I’m just going to lay this one out there.) He’s been throwing elbows, telling his siblings that they are stupid and disgusting, that he hates them. I was asking him about something (I don’t remember) and he said to me Yeah, what the hell ever.
OH, YES. He does know better.
It’s been really awful. I’ve sent his friends home (only to chase after them to come back to play when Nathan became really upset) I’ve confiscated his cell phone, tonight he wasn’t allowed chocolate when the rest of the kids got some because he was being so mean. He’s had a lot of time in his room to smoulder.
And, I KNOW that punishing someone for being mean will only serve to make them meaner. I know it. If I take his phone away for being a shit to his brother, he will be pissed at his brother (and at me) and it won’t help him to be nicer.
But, apparently I forgot, and I kept all weekend trying to make him be nice.
Then tonight, I went outside to take out the recycling and call the boys in for supper. They were in the driveway, leaning up against the van and talking. We started back for the house and I pulled Lex back, suddenly seeing so clearly what he needed. I put my arms around him and hugged him and said, "Hey — you’ve been acting really mean the past few days. And I love you. And I know that you love me. And your brother and sister."
He didn’t tell me what is bothering him, but he hugged me back and apologized, a real one, for being so rotten. He let himself melt into our hug a little bit, and then he took a deep breath and touched my hair. He said he felt better. It’s funny — he’s out of here every chance he gets, and if he’s here, he has a friend over (seriously). But I think what he needed to snap out of it was just a little attention from me. I do know a few of the things he is struggling with. A couple of them are sort of a big deal and I worry. I just hope that I can keep remembering to be kind with him when he can’t be. And much more attentive with him when he is.