Christopher is intense of emotion, and I have described him this way for as long as I can remember. When I was little my great-uncle used to recite a poem that went, “There was a little, with a little curl. When she was good, she was very, very good. But when she was bad, she was very, VERY bad.” My son reminds me of this poem. Not that I would I ever call him bad, but he does have some very bad behavior, and when he gets into his defiant ‘mode’, as I refer to it, there is no getting him out until he is ready. No consequence matters to him when he goes into one of these fits of rage.
Most of the time, however, my son is the sweetest little boy I have ever known. He is far more affectionate than his sister and will sit cuddled up with me for hours on end. He loves to give hugs and kisses and for me to snuggle him until he falls asleep at night. He likes to be helpful and carries groceries in from the car, helps put his laundry away, and asks to help cook dinner. I think you get the gist of how he is two extremes, and there is no in between for him.
Over the last several months, we have noticed a new trend. Chris is VERY sensitive. One day I was driving and a song came on with a rather sad melody, and it was about the end of a relationship. Not realizing that he was even paying attention, you can imagine my astonishment when I turned around to see my son with silent tears streaming down his face!
It’s the same with movies. Other kids get scared of monsters and villains, and these don’t seem to bother Chris much. Instead, situations where parents or children are in peril make him suddenly burst into tears. We watched a movie last night where a young girl was reunited with her father after many years, and Christopher stood staring at the tv, tears streaming down his face. I could tell he was holding back and I reached out for him, to comfort him, but he got angry and ran from the room.
Chris feels emotions so intensely, but he doesn’t understand what they mean. He doesn’t understand that it’s okay to feel empathy and it’s okay to cry when you are sad. He is embarrassed and angered by his own feelings.
I’m not worried by this. I see something in my son. I see him becoming a great man, someone who cares deeply about others and uses that to help people. For now, I will work to help him understand his feelings and to accept them.