Saturday, September 27, 2008

Secret Signals

Recently, there have been a number of episodes where The Mayor has lost his mind.

Poof! Mind = gone.

Without warning, I have found myself in THE TANTRUM ZONE taken completely by surprise.  

In the epicenter of these storms I noticed that The Mayor seemed to want to interrupt his fit and fall into my arms.

I somehow got the impression that the fits were about him craving affection without knowing how to communicate his needs. 

The Mayor isn't very effusive in general.

He's a totally affable guy, but he's not much of a cuddler.

Contrarily, any time I ask The Rooster for a hug or a kiss she comes running, happy to deliver.

The Mayor often watches Roo and I giving each other the sloppy love.

I sometimes think he looks wistful in those moments... as if perhaps he would like to have that type of relationship with me, but doesn't know how to negotiate it.

The other night we were lying on his bed at the end a hysterical fit.  

He was snuffling through the tail end of his tears.

"Do you ever feel like you want everything to stop and wish Mommy would cover you with hugs and kisses?" I asked.

He nodded, sucking in deep gulps of air.

"Is it sometimes hard for you to figure out how to tell me that is what you want?"

He nodded again.

We lay still for a few minutes.

"What if we had a secret sign?" I asked him.

Curious, he rolled over, out of our spoon, to face me.

"What if we had a hand signal that you could make that would let me know that I needed to stop everything and give you hugs and kisses?"

"I don't know," he grumbled.

He turned away from me again.

A few days later he took me wholly by surprise by saying,

"I thought of a sign, Mama."

He held his hand up with his palm facing his cheek and the back of his hand facing me.

"When I hold my hand like this, it means I want hugs and kisses."

He turned his hand over so his fingers pointed towards the floor.

"When I flip it over like this, it means I want you to stop."

"I like it," I said.  "Let's use that!"

He practiced turning my affection on and off at different speeds and felt well-satisfied with himself and his control over my behavior.

He's been using the sign ever since.  Not much, but some.

I think it makes him feel secure just knowing the sign exists.

I am on the look out, ready to respond whenever I see it.


Backpacking Dad said...

That is adorable. I need to think up a secret signal of my own. Because my tantrums are starting to grate.

QT said...

That is too, too sweet!

Missy said...


Patois said...

What a brilliant idea. Of course, my lad would likely come up with the throttle-my-own-neck as a sign. I like his gentle one much better.

Omaha Mama said...

Awwwwww. Those big tantrums, the ones when the kids get bigger? They are so much about control. You gave him a little piece of it and I'll be it has helped immensely.

Vodka Mom said...

I agree that this was a brilliant idea! Don't you LOVE it when we can crank one out???

great, great story.

Magpie said...

Damn. You are a good mama.

Mildly Unstable said...

Beautiful! Incredibly smart mama at work here.

Crazed Mom said...

This is so sweet. You are very good at this Mom thing. Both my boys were cuddles bunnies at age 4 so I never had this challenge.

Great job!

Miz UV said...

You're a really cool mom. :)

Margaret said...

Oh, I love this.

Kristine said...

What an awesomely aware mom you are!

jeanie said...

I got tears here at the communication breakthrough.

WaltzInExile said...

Well, at least the pressure's off now, seeing how there's no way can I get Mother of the Year after your frickin' frackin' genius self came up with this.

Anissa Mayhew said...

Perfection! We did sign language for a while with my first child and it worked wonders, he rarely had tantrums. I didn't realize what it did for him until my second rolled around and was hell on wheels. We (late in the game) taught her enough basic sign language to really communicate what she needed and it helped so tremendously. What a gift to give the Mayor, a way to say what he needs when he needs it without the pressure of coming up with the right words.

Emily said...

Okay, seriously, you are The Absolute Best Mom EVER.

The rest of us don't stand a chance.

debbie said...

This is the sweetest post I have read in a long time. What a cuties he is.

Trannyhead said...

That IS total genius right there. I'd be all "What the hell is wrong with you" and whatnot. *snort*

(In)Sanity Gal said...

Oh my god. When I become a mother, I'm moving to wherever you live and having one-on-one parenting classes. You're amazing.

Gray Matter said...

I have to agree with (in)sanity girl, you are an amazing amazing mom. However, I am a mom so basically I am mostly jealous of your capacity to relate to your kids so clearly about so many different issues. I've been reading for a long time, so I've read a wide range of circumstances, like understanding someone who is handicapped, for instance.

I love that story.

KC said...

Love this - what a fabulous mom you are.

I should totally send you a box of Horny Goat Weed.

Stimey said...

This is so sweet. And so good for you for noticing that he needed such a thing.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this made me teary eyed. What a wonderful mother you are!

Gretchen said...

When I had a newborn, two, and four year old, my oldest tended to get the short end of the stick. (Still does, to some extent.) I found myself rapidly squeezing her small hand when I was a bit irritated - like walking though a parking lot with three kids in tow.

I told her that by squeezing her hand, I was really saying, "I love you."

To this day, whenever I squeeze her hand, she squeezes back.