Hyperactivity = Love

Dear Seth,

It has recently come to my attention that what I thought was misbehavior is really affection. It dawned on me when my Aunt Juli and Cousin Leigh came by with Yousef for a visit. We were outside admiring Mattie’s garden. You got agro and hefted a gigantic pitch fork. Clearly you were showing off, but your behavior struck a cord in me. I realized that was how you express love. You do not have the tools yet to say something like, “Little Yousef I will protect you with all my heart and love you like a brother.” But you do have the skills to stab the ground and make warlike animalistic faces to convey your sentiment.

Throwing things is always an issue in little boy life. I recently asked you why you threw a wooden toy ladder at me? Your reply was, “because you were not listening”. This was a big clue for me because as far as I knew there was no conversation going on. I was putting away laundry and fending off a hyperactive late afternoon kid. But in your mind our interactions were a conversation and you wanted me to be completely present for the mayhem of your internal experience.

One of the things I cherish most about family is how silly you can be around them. You can really let down your guard and talk baby talk, roll on the floor with the dogs, and share the cozy nest of family life. One of the places you can be hyperactive is at home. you can’t be too hyper at day-care because it is perceived as rough housing (although apparently you and Marko were playing at being police and fireman dogs the other day), at Mountain School you are Mr. Cool, and in public places you are busy watching traffic and performing the tasks of daily life (pushing shopping carts, operating book scanners and walking dogs). That leaves home, a safe place to expend energy.

Home is a loving place to show your true feelings. Here you can act out what is not appropriate to act out in other places. It is at home that mom can guide you through consequences, talk to you about outcomes and channel that natural energy that you have. All of which comes from love. Love because you love yourself and are trying to become a person and make order out of your existence. Love because you trust me completely with all the facets of who you are. And lastly I love you back with my own energy. You stand there with a maniacal smile on your face and let me whack you on the head with a big fluffy pillow while screaming gleefully for more. Perhaps when you grow big and strong as you claim, you will still indulge me in the occasional pillow fight.

Love + Mommy

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