For some reason, the original link to this post is not working for many people, so I am reposting it below:
Sunday I rode to church in the very back seat with the second oldest and the youngest the two hardest. One is very affectionate and prone to multiple fits of sulks, one is not at all affectionate, and prone to lashing out in anger at his brothers, but you can tell he longs for affection anyway. We played rock paper scissors, thumb wars, sang itsy bitsy spider and Jesus Loves Me and Ringa Linga (sue me), and a couple tickling games.
the tickling game are a trick, a back door to some physical touch and affection. I hold the child’s hand, open, palm up in my hand, and I forget to let go. With the index finger of my other hand I trace a light circle in that small palm while chanting one of two rhymes:
All around the garden
Ran the little mouse.
One step, two steps,
Into his house!
Or: All around the haystack
Ran a little bear.
One step, two steps,
tickle under there!
When I reach the one step line, my fingers walk up the child’s arm and tickle or poke under the arm or chin. I don’t torture them and tickle relentlessly it’s just light tickle, and they generally beg for more, and these boys are no exception. Furthermore, we did it so often that when we were finished and laid back in the seat and watched the cars go by, I forgot (ahem) to release his hand, and he gripped mine so I couldn’t even if I had wanted to.
Sometimes the haystack is a small tummy.
Our ride was a success. Church service itself was a bust, if what we were interested in was spiritual growth or biblical information making it into the Unicornian boys. they talked, whispered, wriggled, elbowed each other and my son (who elbowed back), attempted to get me to play thumb wars with them, rattled papers, and refused to read the Bible pages in their native tongue which I had printed for them. But our adorable but prickly number 2 boy allowed me to continue to stroke his hair, rub his back, put an arm around him, and otherwise let me in past his well secured gates for a while. So, IOW, also a success.
After lunch I attempted a nap while they played outside with the HG and FYG and the Striderling and his sisters. I didn’t get much of a nap because they think it is the funniest thing in the world to wake me up by shouting at me and watch me leap and shriek.
We went to a fountain on campus and played and splashed, and boy 1 had to change his clothes in the bushes behind me while I stood guard in front of him with a towel because he had been stubborn and not brought shorts to change into, so somebody else bought him a pair at goodwill.
Boy 4 got sunburned because he didn’t want to leave his shirt on when I told him he needed to and host papa decided to let him remove it, and now they are both sorry and one of them is quite uncomfortable.
Boys 1 and 4 took my heart and made it theirs all over again when they were playing with the grandbabies and being tender and adorable, and boy 4 dashed into the hear of the fountain to rescue one of the children who ventured too far and was afraid to return.
We came home and had food and bike riding and more food and looked at pictures, and watched a movie and had more food and caught fireflies, and looked at a Galileo’s thermometer, and popped popcorn and ate a huge bowl, and everybody was in bed and asleep within 15 minute of being told to go, although child 4 had one of his ‘turns,’ but child 2 permitted himself to be piggybacked upstairs to bed.
All in all, I would say more on the plus side of the ledger than minus, today anyway.
P.S. Child 2: stoic, hard to reach because he will not make himself vulnerable. He is also the child who confidently informed me that when he comes back at Christmas, he will be big enough to ride in the front seat. You heard my heart drop like a lead anchor when he said that. No, they do not know we are moving to the Philippines in November. We had not had time to tell them and we don’t know how. I did not know they would already be making plans to come again and again by three days in. My heart hurts so badly over this. And theirs, when they find out? Oh, Lord. I fear for that child’ locked up, walled in heart, because he very much has one, and it’s vulnerable.