Saturday, March 05, 2011


I've been wanting to write about the boys for awhile now but I'm only just getting to it. I figure that since Isaac always gets stuck in the middle, I'd write about him first.

It's such a strange thing for me to think about the difference in Isaac between now and last year. Isaac was always so sick as a baby and toddler. He was just miserable from the RSV, the asthma like symptoms, the earaches, the colds, etc. He was never really into cuddling and he didn't know how to soothe himself until he learned how to rock himself back and forth.

Isaac just seemed to be unhappy a lot of the time. He would fly into a rage over the littlest things. Getting dressed in the morning always resulted in screaming and tears. He was violent with his brothers and would get upset and hit them for no apparent reason. Everything made him anxious. Getting him to go to nursery and then to Sunbeams was terrible. If his teacher wasn't there he refused to go and would cry and scream (thankfully this only happened in Sunbeams the first few months).

I took him to the doctor, who suggested I take him to a therapist. I was skeptical. Take a three year old to a therapist? But I decided we didn't have anything to lose so I took him and it was a really good thing for Isaac. We started out by visiting Miss Lacey twice a week and then once a week and then eventually every other week until he didn't need to go anymore. Isaac was always excited to go visit his friend. She would just do play therapy with him, mostly reading books (usually about emotions) and play games with him while talking to him.

Through this experience we came to discover a few things about Isaac. First, he is very bright. Miss Lacey told us that he could communicate to her better than most five year olds (as a three year old). We were surprised because that was a huge problem for us--getting him to tell us why he was so upset. We also discovered that a lot of his problems were from anxiety and a need to be perfect in everything. We figured out what things triggered certain behaviors and discovered better ways to help him. We bought socks that were much too big for him so that he could easily slip his socks on by himself. We also tried to get his clothes prepared the night before so that morning would not be such an ordeal. Little things like that seemed to make a huge difference for Isaac.

Another thing that made things improve is our system of smiley/frowny faces. This helped Isaac learn to take responsibility for his actions and helped us find a better way to discipline him and reward him. He takes so much pride in knowing that he earned the rewards he gets to choose. His ability to talk about his feelings and why he did something is night and day different. I heard him say to Eli this week after Eli did something a little naughty, "Now Eli, was that a good choice you made?" Isaac craves our approval and I believe he sincerely wants to do what is right.

The other thing I think has helped Isaac this year is doing the preschool co-op. I've already written about my concerns with preschool but I think it was the right thing for Isaac. I felt that with Isaac's anxiety and the fact that he would be going to kindergarten, it would be good for him to be used to being away from me. I've already mentioned his perfectionism, and found it was always difficult when I'd try and teach him. He would get frustrated if he couldn't do something right the first time and would become apathetic and refuse to do it. Plus, I think he felt threatened by Will, who would pick most things up pretty quickly (though, Will is NOT a perfectionist and doesn't care if he does it right the first time). Being in preschool has given him so much confidence in himself. He has improved in all areas and picked things up very quickly. Lacey was right--he is bright! I never doubted he was smart but he would, more often than not, give up and I wasn't able to figure out what he actually knew. I have loved watching him thrive at "school." Today he asked me to buy him a workbook and spent the entire day working in it. I love seeing his confidence in himself and his abilities.

Isaac is so sensitive, which can be hard sometimes, but is something I love about him too. The boys have not ever seen me cry before but this pregnancy has been harder for me than the previous ones and they have finally seen me cry. Isaac is so unaccustomed to it that he gets terribly worried and will always come give me a hug and tell me he loves me.

Isaac's prayers are by far the best of the three boys. He is so aware of what we all need and is always praying for us and saying the most thoughtful things in his prayers.

Of all the boys, Isaac seems to be very concerned about his appearance. He is the best at matching his clothes, which isn't saying much, but he tries really hard! His brothers on the other hand could care less if their clothes match or are on backwards. Every morning he sneaks into our bathroom and puts on Mike's deodorant and is always asking for Daddy's "smells" or cologne. He also asks for a "dinosaur spike" or "rock star hair" depending on his mood (it's really the same hair style). On Sunday he wants to look like Mike and wear a white shirt, tie, and jacket. Once, when the clothes he wanted to wear were not clean, he got really upset and cried, "But none of the girls will think I'm handsome!" Heaven help us.

Isaac has a love for Batman that has lasted for over a year. He has asked us for a giant Batman for his birthday (I can't believe he's almost 5!) and asked if we thought it would be ok to also buy a "princess" to go with Batman because, "Batman is old enough to be married and he ought to have a wife." He has a folder that is overflowing with pictures of Batman and other superheros he has colored and cut out. He is always asking for us to print off more pictures to include in his "collection".

Isaac is such a sweet, thoughtful boy and I really, really love him. I feel so blessed to have him in our family and I know that it isn't just Isaac that has changed the last few years. He has taught us all so much about love and patience and as I've sincerely prayed to know how to better understand him, answers have come that have allowed us as parents to help him reach is potential and helped us learn more about Heavenly Father's love for each of his children.


Marcy said...

You're a wonderful mother and your boys are so lucky to have a mom like you who works hard to find the right thing that will help each of them individually. I'm glad you took the time to write so thoughtfully and honestly about Isaac. It helps me see my kids in a different light also.

Lokodi said...

That was a cute post. I have to say, it was so easy to fall head over heals in love with Isaac when I met him. He's so sweet and loving. I wish Eva and Gabe could meet their cousins.


The Duke said...

I think Isaac will treasure this post all his life. It was very insightful. I hope we get to know him better very soon.

Jed and Kera said...

Oh! Isaac really is a special little guy! I can't remember what question it was, but today he answered a question PERFECTLY that had most everyone stumped! It was cute. :O) I miss him! We need some time with the boys soon!

Gillian Mohlman said...

Adrianne you are such a good mom. Your kids love you so much, and I love you too! I can't wait to get to know your kids more.

Mike and Adrianne said...

Thank you Marcy, I appreciate it.

Lindsey, you already know that they love you and they would love to play with your kiddos.

Mom, he's looking forward to visiting you and having you visit him.

Kera, you are right, he is such a special boy. I love him.

Gilly, thanks. They will love you when they get to see you.