Thursday, August 14, 2008

You're yelling at me in my love language. And, also, you're just yelling.

Like many pre-marrieds, Trent and I read "The Five Love Languages" before we got married. You know, so we'd communicate our affection better, yada, yada, yada. ;) The languages are physical touch, acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation and giving/receiving gifts. It's not a bad read, but I think most people receive and give love in a number of ways. But we did notice that since I grew up in a household that expressed love through comforting touch, like hand-holding, back rubs, hugs, high-fives, hands on the knee, etc., that I expected more of that from him. So, when we were sitting in church or at the movies and my fiance-at-the-time kept his hands folded neatly in his lap, I would stew in frustration that he wouldn't put his arm around me. SO, reading this book helped us address this miscommunication. According to the book, physical touch would be one of my primary love languages. I recently read The Five Love Languages of Children, and have started noticing some of Carson's tendencies. He's still really young to tell, but I think his strongest ones so far are physical touch and gifts.
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On an unrelated story, but one which I will soon connect, in college, I had 2 friends with whom I would invent characters--the kind of characters we thought should be on Saturday Night Live. My favorite character Kellianne and I created in our dorm room was Coach Ed, The Harriest Swim Coach Alive. He was a coach who...actually, his title leaves little need for explanation. Curtis and I would create characters in the Ekklesia* van on long drives. One he created and would enact to annoy us was Personal Space Pete. "Pete" had no space boundaries and would violate acceptable social physical and verbal limits.
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Lately, I feel like I am living with Personal Space Pete--and I'm not talking about my husband. Yes, physical touch is one of my primary love languages, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and I'm experiencing it. Daily. I've been trying to make a point to spend some quality, one-on-one time with Little C each day. No sister, no dad, no TV--just him and mom. And yet, he feels the need to be connected to me, skin-to-skin, all the livelong day. He follows me from room to room, hanging on my clothes, clinging to my leg, asking for piggyback rides, etc. Bless his little heart, I do love snuggling with him, and try to do that as often as possible to try to fill his need. Even when I don't feel like it. But lately--I am ALL TOUCHED OUT! I am going to try to get a video of him while I'm feeding Sydney, because that is when he begins to yell at me in this love language. If it weren't so frustrating, it would be funny. I literally become his personal jungle gym. This is stress-inducing for me, because Little Miss is not a great eater. She's an on-and-off-and-on-and-off snacker, which takes some focus on my part to get the job done. Which, come to think of it, having another small human literally attached to me so much of the day is probably adding to the feeling of physical hollering. Mr. Potato Head, books, snacks and movies seem to hold his attention only until he realizes that there is a perfectly warm body nearby, ready to be scaled like a lumpy ladder. While yelling. And playing the recorder. Or shaking a rattle at Sydney's face. Or pretending he's a lion and ROARing and clawing us. Or trying to ride horsey on my leg. Pick your poison.
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I hesitated to even blog about this, because I feel like I'm complaining about my kiddo a lot during this transition to a new sibling, and I seriously love him so much that it hurts. AND, he's had many perfectly delightful moments in the last 6 weeks. But I find myself commenting on other mommy blogs for them to feel comfortable talking about the good and the bad, so I decided it was OK to vent to any of you who choose to read. I know that we will get through this, the weather will cool down (which will help me not feel so "gamey" as JJ would say), and I'll start getting more sleep which will all help. But for now, if I see you, don't feel the need to hug me. In fact, I'm temporarily switching my love language to "gifts," so feel free to love me in that way. ;)
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*One of my newer friends asked what Ekklesia is. It was a singing group I was in during college. We traveled around on the weekends and all summer singing and telling people at churches they should send their kids and money to our university. It was a huge part of my college experience--and helped pay for a lot of it!

10 comments:

Alli said...

Hey Jen!
I totally hear you on this one. I have a 15 week old and a 4 year old and have gone through a similar adjustment. Take heart, it does get better. I think for John (4) he just had to realize that this is how life is now, Samuel (baby) is here for keeps, and none of that changed the fact that Mommy loves him just as much as before Samuel entered our lives. I think, also, you will develop more patience as you start to get more rest and the baby starts to eat better (Samuel was the same way--never wanted to eat, just sleep). I know for the first 8 weeks of Samuel's life, John was constantly in my face and Samuel's face--touching, kissing, hugging, singing, poking, jumping up and down right next to us, saying "look at me, look at me!," etc.--and at times I just wanted to scream. (I was laughing out loud about the rattle in the baby's face. Totally feel you on that one.)
Anyway, it does get better. Eventually you and Carson will find your new routine. Best of luck to you. I will be praying that you will get rest and that your little guy will find the joys of self-entertaining! Congrats on the new baby!

Allison

Pot Liquor said...

Aww, Jen I feel for you. I know how you feel. It sounds like you're running on empty and desperately need to pull off the road, find a gas station, and fill up. When I was going through a similar experience a friend bought me a gift certificate to a day spa. Reluctantly I accepted up knowing full well that I would toss it in the back of a drawer somewhere. Not that I wasn't appreciative, I just was at that stage where I was so connected to my children that the very thought of leaving them for a moment to selfishly indulge myself was out of the question. It took some coaxing, but eventually I took the leap, ventured away from my benin tumors into a sweet retreat of jasmine incense, heated massage oils, and the easy listenings of 94.7 the wave. It sound cheesey, but I needed it. I hadn't realized that in giving of myself 24 hours a day/7 days a week to my children, I had essentially forgotten to pour into myself. Maybe day spas don't do it for you, but you have to take some time away..., just you..., to fill up the tank.

Steph said...

Yup, we need a girls day!!! Also, I don't have an infant and I still get annoyed at my darling boy for his ideas of what is ok. :) I think it comes with the territory. I'm glad you shared. It's great when we all know it happens to all of us. I love you!

woosterweester said...

Oh how I love the "transition stage" as you so eloquently refer to it. The toughest part of it is not knowing exactly how long it's going to last but hearing constantly from others that it will "get better". I about ripped into an advice nurse after Eva was born (and screaming her head off for hours a day) when the nurse threw that one out over the phone at midnight (when Lee was out of town). Anyway, you are in good company and have every right to vent. We bear one another's burdens (knowing full well that Carson isn't the burden, but that the challenges of motherhood can be a heavy load sometimes.) And we know that the venting in no way diminishes the overwhelming love we all have for our kids. And when you hit up the day spa, let me know... I'll join you! Bloggers unite!:)

Jen White said...

So before kids my love language was physical touch. NOw...not so much. There is such a think as too much of a good thing. Just like our bellies swoon and hurt when we over eat....so does our love tank. I had the same issues with miah when riley was born...except we still have those issues because he IS Personal Space Pete (aspergers does that) AND riley LOVES physical touch. SO bummer for him...but hubby gets left out in the cold.....I expect you weren't gonna go any where near the hubby part of physical touch, but I know it's there girl. I know it's there.
Does it get better? I'm not sure. My love language is definitely not physical touch anymore....it's more gifts and acts of service. (I actual think they are almost one in the same). But You are a smart girl to officially make the change and to make it be known but make sure it's especially known to Trent.

I know it doesn't help...but you'll get thru it Jen. Even if you roll your eyes or occasionally push Carson off the couch away from you it won't scar him. You are a sensitive mom and that holds stronger than the occasional brush off

Jen White said...

oooo I apologize I didn't spell check before posting.....BAD ME!!!

angie said...

I'm so glad you posted this! My little Johnny is an 'only' so far, but he does the exact same thing - and today was worse than ever! (I think letting him watch TiVo Olympic gymnastics isn't helping...he thinks I'm the gym equipment!) It's nice to know I'm not the only one...but not so much that it might get worse if/when baby #2 arrives. Hang in there...we already know Carson is. :)

Diane Davis said...

great post.

Brad said...

Hmm, if something could get my wife to drop a love language or two, that would help my cause. Congratulations Trent!

curtis Templeton said...

for the record it was Comfort Zone Chris...
and my kids are dead ringers for this persona..