abstention and those tiny little fists pummelling me

It seems the members of Casa Del Hogaboom are all experiencing their own separate trials. I have given up sugar (successfully for a week and a half); Ralph forgoes smoking and reinvigorates his running career; and yesterday Sophie was admonished by the dentist for thumb-sucking. Nels, well, I’d like him to give up the hitting and loud angry yelling he does. He doesn’t seem to agree with me yet. The li’l chili pepper!

My son is capable of very strong feelings and sometimes he displays them in an “unacceptable” way. This is new territory for me. Sophie’s losses of temper are often relatively restrained, rarely violate others’ rights, and are followed almost immediately by remorse or a breakdown of sorts. But I know in my heart my son does not truly see why he should not, for instance, fling a ninja star into my eye. It’s been very interesting to think of ways to process his behavior by first and foremost acknowledging his feelings rather than skipping straight to the part where I tell him he’s being unacceptable – all the while I fret that if he can’t learn to control his temper this will cause him a lot of grief later in life.

His temper outbursts are often simply comical. I mean come on – he is just so small and fierce! Today post-nap he was grousing and yelling at everything Sophie did (she was quite civilly sharing nachos with him). I came into the room they were at and said (diplomatically), “OK now, it’s time to settle down!” He whipped his little head around and glared at his sister and said, “YEAH! YOU … NEED … TO … SETTLE DOWN, SOPHIE [ pronounced “Dophie! ]!” [ Awkward pause ] I say, “No Nels, actually you need to settle down,” (trying not to laugh) and he aims his blonde curls of fury at me and yells, “YOU … SETTLE … **DOWN**!!” all “angry”-like. He gets as big as he can and he’s mad. He’s still pretty small, though.

Later this evening while grocery shopping in the co-op he completely chewed Ralph out for some horrific crime (I think Ralph had buckled him safely in the shopping cart) and hollered all throughout the store. I ended up holding him against my breast (tenderly, not in a “smothering” kind of way) which helped calm him so I wasn’t getting glares from the childless shed-folk purchasing their kefir and incense. Then at dinner Nels would only accept steak, or coleslaw, or potatoes that I handled / cut up / discussed. Daddy, do not make eye contact.

We decided this evening: he’s going Oedipal on us. Oh well, it’s nice to be loved, I always say.

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