I3 has had a hard time since Baby L showed up.
He's a sweet boy, and we all expect boyish, preschoolerish, occasionally naughty behavior as a normal part of life.
But there's something in his behavior that smacks of more than just growing boy-ness. (Though what do I know? I've been raising girls!)
I've been working hard to feed him the love, time, attention, and gentle discipline he needs to grow well and know he's loved beyond measure. But there's still something in that boy crying for attention.
On Saturday afternoon, he was climbing around the kitchen while I was cooking. We'd spent the afternoon shucking corn together, and now I was preparing some of that delicious sweet corn for dinner. He was excited.
He got too close to the boiling pot of water. "That's too hot, Buddy, you'll get burned. Scoot your stool over so you can watch safely."
He didn't obey.
"Hey Bud, you're too close. It's not safe here. You need to move over here (I pointed out the location) or you'll have to get down."
He smiled and climbed from the stool to the counter.
"That was not following directions. Now you have to get down."
He kept smiling and shook his head no. I could see the wheels spinning madly in his brain.
"If you won't obey, then I will have to help you. I'm getting you down now."
I took him in my arms to put him on the floor. As I leaned over to put him down he poked a cube of softened butter--smashing it into an unrecognizable blob.
Before he even reached the floor, the thought flashed, "This boy needs more sensory experiences than he's getting now. He's not acting out over the baby. He needs intellectual stimulation via physical means."
It was a very clear thought--completely formed and easily understood. It even arrived with a few ideas for how to act on it (playdough, pounding nails, cooking).
I feel strongly that it was inspiration sent by a loving Heavenly Father who cares for His children individually.
After inviting I3 to come back when he felt he could obey, I thought about it. It's not as though I3's life is devoid of hands-on experiences--he'd spent Thursday afternoon watching/helping Daddy try to fix the lawnmower; just that morning with his sisters he'd explored the tree in our yard that the storm knocked over Friday night, arriving at the back door so muddy that I made them all strip down before coming in the house; he gets lots of opportunities to help me cook; he's been Daddy's "Super Helper" during Daddy's hardscaping the garden project; but clearly, he needs more.
So, once we get through this week's field trips and dance performances I'll be planning some good stuff--some meaningful, physically and intellectually satisfying work--for my boy.