We are preparing for an(other) international move. There’s a lot to do, with planning, preparations, etc. It’s taking up a lot of my time, energy and head space, and it’s been a bit stressful at times.
My boy’s been a bit “high” himself at times in the last few days. Acting generally hyped up, repeating silly noises and phrases, and having bigger reactions than usual to hearing “no”.
Every time I find myself thinking, “What is UP with you?” (which is a relic of the culture I grew up in, where it is common to point fingers, rather than attempt to understand), I quickly remind myself of the broader context.
I have no doubt that he is picking up on my stress levels, as I sort out the logistics of this move. I’m carrying extra tension in my body, and my voice is more strained than usual. I’ve been a lot less present with him than I usually am.
My sleep has also been affected (not least because I mistakenly drank a caffeinated beverage at 7pm the other night and then couldn’t fall asleep until 2 am!). That happened because I was so distracted, that I didn’t notice my mistake until it was too late!
My son is sensing when my nervous system is ramped up, and I’m “not quite there”. This is affecting his sense of safety, and it’s coming out in his behaviour.
And it’s not just that. When my sympathetic nervous system is running a bit high, I’m experiencing even the typical ‘kid’ things he does as more irritating! Things are getting under my skin more easily. I’m more prone to irritation and sensory overwhelm. So sometimes it feels to me like he’s ‘acting out’, even when he’s not!
Sometimes I’m not sure … Is it him? Is it me?
And it really helps me to remember that none of us lives in a vacuum. The states of the nervous systems of the people around us rub off on us. Together, we can spiral up (co-regulation), or we can spiral down (chaos!!).
I’m trying to take the lead in helping us both to keep regulating. Remembering to ground myself. To not say or do things from a place of activation. To be playful. To sing. To take breaks. To have some time in nature. And to spend some dedicated time each day offering my son my full presence, doing an activity of his choosing. Today, we made muffins!
I’m also going easy on myself when I don’t manage to do these things. And repairing my lapses with my son when I need to.