This is one of those times where I openly solicit advice from my dear readers. I wrote last week about Sebastian's crying, one of those , "oh, being a parent is tough, huh?" kind of posts. But now I seriously feel like I have a problem. Or I think I do. I guess I'm not sure - that's part of the advice I seek.
Like I said in that earlier post, Sebastian has always been a crier. And when you have a baby, its so easy to chalk it up to being a "phase" or just part of that age. But it seems like with him, we never get out of it. To a certain degree, I can accept this. It seems that he is a just a sensitive boy. And he is allowed to be sensitive. I took up the advice I got in the last post and am reading some books on highly sensitive kids. Its helping, but truthfully, not that much.
Basically, I feel like I am not cut out to parent my son. And I feel like he can't enjoy "normal" activities because he gets so upset. I have brought up the issue with EI (a few months back) and they actually suggested letting him have his pacifier when he got upset. They said its age appropriate for a kid his age to have a comfort object and if that was his, and it's the only thing that helps him self-soothe, we should allow him to use it. So, he gets his binky whenever he needs it at home, in the car and in his crib. But I simply can't bring myself to let him have it in public. As if it's the scarlet letter of incompetent parenting. And it's in these public situations where we find ourselves in trouble.
Two good examples: First, we have been doing an EI playgroup since March(ish). The playgroup is very low key and parents stay the whole time. The first half hour is open play, which goes over quite well. No surprise there. The last half hour is circle singing time and that's when the crying starts. 6 months in, Sebastian still cries (and I mean wails, not whimpers or whines) every time we get to the parachute. No matter how much I prep him or remind him of what will happen, he loses his shit every time. And I know what his issue is: he wants to go underneath the parachute. But that doesn't happen until after we shake the parachute and after we go on top of the parachute. So he cries and cries and cries until its time to go underneath. Often, he is too upset by that point to even go under. I have tried holding him in my lap, reassuring him that it will be time to go under soon. I have tried ignoring him. I have tried removing him from the situation. I have tried counting down until its time. But nothing has stopped his anger over this.
The other new fit-inducing activity is gymnastics. The thing is, he likes gymnastics. He likes doing the obstacle course, walking on the balance beam, going down the slide. He especially likes the trampoline. And this is where things start to go south. Yesterday, he was on one the little trampolines. I told him he could have ten jumps and then it would be the next girl's turn. I counted to 10 (very slowly, something we do all the time at home with turn taking and has worked very well) and when I told him his turn was up he got off. But then he immediately wanted to get back on, demanding that it was his turn again. I explained to him that he could have anotehr turn when she was done. No dice. I explained to him that there was another trampoline in the room he could use. I even brought him over there and told him he could have a turn. No dice. He was completely distraught and not able to recover for about 20 minutes. Additionally, he got even more upset while we were in the big room because he didn't want to wait for his turn on the big trampoline. Like the parachute, this is an activity we do every week. Part of me feels like he should be getting used to it.
I'm at a loss. He wants to do these activities and have fun but he seems to sabotage himself. And I try to help him cope but nothing I do seems to make a difference. It would be easier if it were just about him but he has a twin sister and I can't do separate activities with them. I feel like we're damned if we do, damned if we don't. Lastly, it doesn't help matters that he is the only child acting like this. Others may cry from time to time but he is the only one who does it every time over the same things. It's hard to not feel like I'm doing something wrong.
Will we ever get past it? Or will we struggle with this at every stage of his development until he moves out?