Sometimes, When You Least Expect It

What is the one thing that always makes you happy?  Cooking?  Shopping?  Spending time with friends or family?  When I need a pick-me-up, I usually find a sitter and have a night out with my husband.  It's not usually fancy or exciting...just a few hours together away from the chaos that is our house.

For my oldest daughter, her biggest smile comes from being the center of attention.  As our oldest, those moments are fleeting to say the least.  But, when she has our undivided attention, she's happy.  She is happy being tickled, being watched while she carefully writes her spelling words, singing with all her heart, or (most recently) playing the piano while we sit and listen.  We've recently signed her up for ballet, which seems to be exactly what her heart desired.

For my baby girl, she is happiest when her Mommy and Daddy are happy.  She smiles when we smile, she laughs when we laugh, and she loves to be the one to make us do those things.  When she discovers that something she does makes us laugh, she will do it over and over and over...  :)  And it still works.

Our second child has proved to be more difficult.  Singing, performing, or being the center of attention do not make him happy.  As a matter of fact, these moments are when he tends to get himself in trouble.  On top of this difficulty is the fact that he is so very energetic.  Spring and Summer are mostly spent outdoors: riding bicycles, playing at the park, going on long walks.  Fall and Winter are not so easily filled, and this is a problem.  When he has no outlet for his energy, he gets in trouble because he tries to release it in ways that are not desired.  So, I began looking for solutions.  Last year, he was in a gymnastics class.  This class was very fun, and was a great outlet for his energy, but not quite what we were looking for.  We considered t-ball, but were told that four was really too young to begin. So, a few weeks ago, we signed him up for soccer.  And we finally hit the jackpot.

He received a couple of soccer balls when he was 3 and has always enjoyed kicking them around.  He was coordinated with the ball, and could run the length of our yard with it easily.  So, we went with it.  On first day of soccer practice, he was very timid.  And then I saw the smile.  The one I see from time to time at home when he is doing something he really loves.  During his game the week, I saw it a few more times.  And last week, that smile stayed on his face the whole time he was on the field.

Can I just say that my heart is overjoyed?  For once, we have found something that he can do with his whole heart.  He can run, he can kick, and he can try his best to be faster than everyone else around him.  It is even a setting in which it is encouraged to be aggressive.  My son is happy.

And as a Momma, when my kids are happy, I feel so blessed.  My cup runneth over.  :)

Do any of you have any suggestions on other activities we can try?  Any help is greatly apprecated.  Please keep us in your prayers, as this is only a small step in our continuing battle with self-control.

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