The type of changes, grief, and loss-the fear and the uncertainty that I as an adult feel right now is too complicated, too abstract, for me to explain to Z or for him to understand.
If you are a parent, aunt/uncle, grandparent etc. you are probably also feeling the grief and sadness of the younger ones in your family. You know the nos they are hearing, the changes they are experiencing. We as adults either understand or have access to knowledge and understanding of what is going on. They do not. They can sense our fear-our grief our uncertainty. Adults are security and when the adults don’t have the answers or seem unsure-then they really know something is wrong.
My role during the day is to be there for Z and his feelings. To help him process the nos he is experiencing. At only two (almost three) he doesn’t get it. The nos like: no playdates, no grocery store snacks, no playgrounds, no joint preschool come as confusing and just sad for him. With a kid this young we are also dealing with mom and dad sounding like the bad guys putting down the “nos”; because we can’t explain it to him otherwise. “No” for a toddler under normal circumstances is hard to swallow-let alone when they aren’t given the answer “why”.
The changes are hard as well. For Z this means changing his clothes after daycare. Last week he had a full on meltdown about taking his clothes off and putting on new ones in the mudroom “like daddy because of the bad germs” after daycare. It didn’t help that I had to turn around and take ducky (his lovely) away temporarily for a “bath”. (note: we have two so we just trade out; so ducky’s “baths” are”super fast).
Z has also had to learn how to to use hand sanitizer and washing his hands has become constant and longer. He is not a fan of having to sing all the way through “twinkle twinkle little star” before turning the water off. Besides this we have been trying to teach Z not to suck on his thumb in public.
Because of all of this I have learned to find room to process my feelings (and my sons) about all of these changes we are facing away from Z. For more on this see my post from yesterday:”changes and nos”.
One of the best ways to process everything has been to talk it out with L.
We determined quickly into this that our “how was your day” answers had changed: they were too long, stressful, emotional, complicated for Z friendly dinner talk. So, as hard as it is, we are reserving them for after bedtime routine. Then we compare information and how it is impacting us and take a few minutes to just be with each other and find solace.
I am praying you all are taking the time to help the children in your life process and handle the changes, nos, and unknowns of this season. But I also hope you are not ignoring your own feelings. They are just as valid as those of the children in your life. I pray you make the time and space to process them in a healthy way because what you feel the children in your life will also feel.