I'm trying to find randoms acts of kindness that he can relate to. Like giving a wide-eyed toddling passerby a quarter for the Ninja Turtle arcade game after his mama says they're out. Or helping a lady at farmers market pick up a crate of peaches that were knocked over. Kade normally does these things because I initiate them. I say something like, "Uh oh.. we should help!" and he cheerfully follows my lead. Other times, he initiates the kind acts. For example, breaking off a piece of his organic chocolate bar and giving it to a random baby in a stroller. Luckily for us, her mother was okay with that and recognized it as the sweet gesture it was. These acts are few and far between but they give me the encouragement I need. It's a gentle reminder, you're doing something right.
I'm finding a new balance with Kade. He's shifting into a more independent, brave and stubborn kid. It's necessary for me to shift with him. There has to be a balance. Finding out how to do that, however, hasn't been easy. Bedtime was our biggest struggle. Kade would get up over and over again. I always started out calm and reassuring but by the 50th time out of bed, I was frustrated and tired. I often threatened, go to sleep or else! He would cry and I would feel totally lousy.
One night, we walked into the bedroom and told him he didn't have to go to sleep. We recognized that maybe he's just not ready. Maybe he needs to ease himself into it and wind down on his own. He stared at us in bewilderment as we turned on a small lamp, insisted he play or read books and that he put himself to bed when he was ready. The only catch was that he had to stay in his room. The conversation went something like, "Kade, this is Mom and Dad's time. You had your time today, now it's ours. You are welcome to stay up and play or read but you must stay in your room. When you're ready to sleep, you can climb in bed yourself." Now, Kade plays by himself for about 15 minutes. When he's ready, he comes out and asks for hugs and kisses. I tuck him in and he stays in bed until morning.
This was a big success. Of course, there are other things (whining being number one) that we haven't cracked the code to yet. But we're learning that freedom within boundaries is the key. He also insists on picking out his own clothes and shoes now. I've decided that's fine as long as they're weather appropriate. He also has to wear pants. He hates that rule but usually agrees if I let him pick out which pants.
I'm in a state of total, complete restlessness. I'm anxious and itching and irritable. I'm ready for the ocean, I'm ready for clean air, I'm ready for a job that doesn't leave me bruised and raw and sore.
Fourteen hour shifts in a freezer are overwhelming. My hands don't work, my anemic blood is frozen solid in my veins, my head pounds out the same rhythm as the slug former machine. I'm ready for Seattle. I'm ready for growth and change and moving on.
This city is tugging me back. It says stay a while. My sister has always said the only place she'd live other than Ogden is New York. It's a city that Al Capone said was "too rough" for him. But if you really know this city, you'll fall in love with it. And saying goodbye to it is bittersweet. Like saying goodbye to an old friend.