There are days when I am the coolest person on the planet, to my son anyway. When I was assembling an IKEA kids table for his use I was told at least 10 times that I am doing wonderful, good job. Then he would dance around and laugh and make a mantra out of the phrase “a table, a table a table a table.”
That day I also finally got around to changing out the rails on his bed so that we could use the Ikea slats and put his mattress on them instead of on the floor inside of the bed.
“Thanks for fixing my bed mom, you did a good job.”
Today he stood next to bathtub and watched me wash his sister’s hair.
“You are doing really good mom, you are doing good at that.”
So I chose this moment to explain that the correct way to say it was that I am doing it well.
“But why mom?”
“Because that’s the right way to say it.”
“Because to say that I am doing it well is how to make the words say that you think I am doing a good job. To say that I am doing good is saying something that may not be true because it means my action is bringing good to another person when all I am doing is washing her hair.”
He thought about this for a second and then insisted, “But you are mom, you are doing good.”
Maybe he’s right.
I’ve never read that book about everyone’s love languages and the different ways different people experience love, but the concept is simple enough.
I’ve come to realize that his love language is having things done for him, which is both simple and remarkably complex. He chooses not to do some things for himself, like wipe his own butt, because having this done for him seems to make him feel loved and secure, at least for the present. How do I know this?
He usually needs it done first thing in the morning when I am still asleep and his sister has just dosed off in my bed while nursing, because she only gets to nurse when it’s morning time. He comes to tell me that he needs his bum wiped. I have two choices. I can tell him to do it himself, or to wait for me to come but I’ll be a long time. (He’s waited for over an hour upon occasion.) Or I can drag myself out of bed. Wake up the girl and if her father is home him too with her waking up too early screams and go wipe his butt. He then feels right and loved and happy with his dose of mommy took care of me and brightly goes about dressing himself and getting food and playing with things, etc.
If I tell him to do it his self, he’s four, he will wait until I get up and ask me to do it then, and he will spend the morning melting into puddles at the silliest things and crying and generally having a miserable day. This scene plays itself out every single morning, one way, or the other.
So maybe I am doing good when I put a table together for him, or wash his sister’s hair, or make his breakfast. According to way he thinks, doing things for people is doing good.