Noah was sick yesterday of the coughing/hacking/snot-factory variety so he stayed home with his Grandma as Dylan and I just didn't feel like getting the nastygrams from school (of the 'he coughed all during nap time and bothered the other children and you are bad people for sending him today' variety). (I may have paraphrased a wee bit.) He was feeling better last night and this morning so to school he was a-going. Now, his generally questionable behavior tends to be, uh, augmented, when he is feeling less than his best so surprised I was not when he declined to eat his breakfast and instead throw his fork across the kitchen. Gentle redirection and reprimands (the first step) had no effect (shocker) so when I got his attention and made him look at me, instead of fiery defiance, I was floored to see...tears. Tears forming in his beautiful dark blue eyes
My heart cried out in pain because these weren't the 'I'm hurt' tears or the 'I'm mad and throwing the biggest tantrum in the world see if I don't' tears but were...sad. Genuine, aching sadness that I in no way expected from my vibrant, stubborn, independent, wonderful two and a half year old. Oh my heart. I tried to encourage him to talk to me, why was he sad, to use his words. "No! No words an more!" but still with the tears lurking in his eyes. Even his swats at me were half-hearted (and no, we don't tolerate hitting - that is a time-out worthy offense). All I wanted to do was wrap him in my arms and hold him to make the sadness go away.
He squirmed and fussed and was generally mad that I carried him upstairs to brush his teeth (No! No brush teef no more!) but we got his hands washed and teeth mostly brushed. Until I asked him to 'Grrr' so I could scrub his front teeth. 'No! NO GRRR! NO!' then he melted into a sad, heartbroken puddle on the floor. I reached for him and he turned and reached up for me, tears streaming, wanting nothing more than to be held. Running late be damned, my baby needed me. So we sat down and he wrapped his arms around my neck, sobbing into his shoulder while I rocked him and rubbed his back and whispered, "It's okay baby boy, sometimes we just need to cry". Over and over again. Finally the sobs faded into whimpers and the tears stopped flowing. He sat up straight and looked at me, "Feel better now." I'm so glad baby, I'm so glad.
He was emotionally fragile when I dropped him off at school today; the tears and sadness were held at bay but I could tell that they were lurking just out of sight. I gave him a great big hug and kiss and we waved and blew kisses through the window at each other. He turned to play with a friend and out I walked into the cool morning sunshine knowing that he'll be okay.
Sometimes we all just need to cry.