Art Helps Us Say Difficult Things

This is a new phase for us – where Benny does art to explain himself  when he’s in trouble for something, or when he needs a reminder of the rules – if he does an art piece, it seems to help us communicate better about what is going on.

This piece of art was difficult for me because Benny absolutely couldn’t listen to me when I was asking him to be quiet. I know – I struggle with this one. He’s a kid – of course he’s supposed to sing and say things over and over and over again. This is all normal for his stage of development. But sometimes it makes me think I’m going to lose my mind, and so sometimes I ask him to keep it down or be quiet for a little bit. Yesterday, he just couldn’t hear this – or it wasn’t registering at all. Finally I asked him to go do a sign for me that would explain to me why he doesn’t listen.
This is a child not listening to his mother. It’s interesting to me that it’s not him and it’s not me. It’s removed a little bit – so it’s easier to talk about it. He told me that the words say, “I don’t listen because you don’t make sense to me.”
Of course my first reaction was “If I ask you to be quiet, do you understand those words?” He said yes, but seemed distracted, so we talked about it a little bit more. I asked him if the child wasn’t listening because he was ignoring the mother, or if he just had other things on his mind. He said the child just had a lot on his mind and was busy thinking and playing.
I’m sure there are those who would say I’m putting way too much into this – that I’m over-thinking it. But my little son just told me that sometimes I don’t make any sense to him, and I pondered that for a good part of the day – amid getting ready for 4th of July and making a flag with him out of paper.
Perhaps it’s when I’m asking him to be quiet for no real reason, that it doesn’t make sense to him. Like, if the baby were napping, that would make sense to a 5-year old, why we’d want to be quiet. But if we’re all awake and just hanging out – it must just fluster him to try to figure out why grown-ups want things to be quiet. It’s the most natural thing in the world for him to sing and make all sorts of action figure noises as he plays with action figures.
I’m old. I’m just an old woman sometimes. I have these little kids, and an old woman’s desire for quiet. I have to break out of that, embrace my inner young, energetic person who thrives on much more noise in her life, and learn to see all these noises as background noise to life – to life lived with active boys. This is my current symphony, my soundtrack. And if I want more instruments in there than percussion – then I have the option to hum along or put on a CD.
I want to make sense to my son. I don’t want to be talking gibberish to him. I want to value his input and work with what we’ve got! I feel so blessed that he’s a creative person who can speak to me through his art.

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