Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another Kid Art Embroidery, and a Challenging Kid

A couple of months ago, we were on our way home from the dentist when we witnessed a wild turkey get hit by a pickup truck as it crossed the road. Z was especially upset by the sight. He was already in a not very good mood after having not-listened at the dentist and consequently not-gotten a treat at the health food store, but he is also a very sensitive guy, despite his gruff exterior, especially when it comes to animals.

Immediately after we got home, he sat down and drew a picture of turkeys very much alive. To me, the picture told the story of the turkey making it safely across the road. I don't know much about art therapy, but whatever he did, it was therapeutic. As a bonus, the picture was fantastic and I knew right away I wanted to make it into a kid-art embroidery.

I meant to have it done in time to be a Thanksgiving decoration, and started it in early October, but I got sidetracked on other things and didn't get it done for the holiday. I finally finished it up Friday morning, the day after Thanksgiving, which isn't too bad. 

I decided to use a beaver-chewed stick that Z had found on our hike the day before to hang it. I thought he would be pleased: his drawing, his stick. But I cut the stick to the proper length and when he saw, he pitched a super, ginormous fit.

Only after we went down to where the beaver dam is and found a whole armful of replacement sticks did he calm down. Getting out into nature seems to be one piece of the puzzle of how to sooth this boy.

I realized later (much later, as I was cooking dinner) that he had refused lunch, instead eating a leftover pancake and was probably in need of some protein-based nourishment. But even so, he is one tough kid. Very strong emotions. Super duper stubborn.

I know I'm supposed to use euphemisms like "persistent" and "determined" and "high spirited," to look on the bright side of this strong-willed little person and believe that those traits that drive me up the wall will one day serve him well as he faces life's challenges. But I find it hard to get to that place when he's thrashing around the living room over a #@$%& &**^$@# stick!

I know there's a sweet little boy inside of him––he wants a pet owl, gloves shaped like turkeys, a fuzzy sweater (and an i-pod touch, oh my) for Christmas. He cries when he sees a turkey get hit by a truck. Then again, he's also the boy who, when we were writing the things we were thankful for on watercolor leaves to put into our gratitude journal, wrote, "I'm thankful for poop." When I asked him to write something nice, he scribbled out his leaf and sobbed on the couch for half an hour (that one was after five servings of yogurt parfait, and can in no way be blamed on low blood sugar). Later he explained to me that he meant that without poop, we'd just blow up. I have to admit he has a point, although I don't actually believe that's what he meant at all.

I'm sure it's hard to be a twin. And a little brother. Heck, it's probably tough at times to be seven. I just wish I knew what to do with a kid who's so persistent and determined and high spirited.


  1. If you figure it out, please let me know.

    Hugs and deep empathy.

    When youngest was a baby, I was pretty worried that she had the right temperament for a sociopath - that yawning hunger for stimulation, that scary amygdala. I held and nursed and held and nursed as much as possible. Now I know she has a conscience and all, but she is still really hard. Except at school where she is eerily perfect, determined by some inner drive that she did not acquire from me to Do Everything Perfectly. I am her least favorite immediate family member these days and it smarts.

  2. First if all your embroidery looks beautiful!
    Second... sigh... totally normal for that age. At least normal at my house too. My guy is moving into 8 1/2 now and the amount of change from 7 to now is enormous! It's been challenging and hard work, but he is starting to mellow out and go with the flow a little more. Hang in there mama.

  3. I had a challenging boy several years ago. He was sensitive, persistent, intense and difficult. At times, very difficult. There are things I wished I had done differently. Hindsight being 20/20 and all.
    If I were to do it again, I would teach him that he had very strong emotions and try to get him to understand that about himself. I would not get so wrapped up in how he felt and that I wouldn't try and make him feel better when he was having overwhelming emotions. I would except them and go about my business.
    I don't know if that is helpful or it sounds mean. I just know that I spent way too much time trying to help him fix how he was feeling, and there was no way to fix it. It was just feelings. I took it way too seriously.
    I have learned over the years that if I except my feelings and feel them but knowing that is all they are just feelings, I am able to handle life's challenges much easier. I wish I had been able to pass it on to my son. He had a tough time as a teen. He is 26 now and finally seems to be doing well.

  4. Oh my heavens I know all about mistakenly using a special stick...ugh. I mean how are we parents with untrained eyes to know that that particular stick in the growing pile of sticks right next to our back door happens to be A SWORD OF MAGICAL IMPORT! *sigh* Cue a 45 minute crying jag/tantrum, an ugly rant by Hubby imediately followed by me pouring a glass of much needed wine.
    ps--beautiful turkey drawing/embroidery!


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