I wrote about Elisha’s first protective act here, but there have been three more in the last few months that were clearly deliberate, and I want to remember them too.
Back before Jay returned from Antarctica I would send Natasha out with Joule to hold the leash and make sure the dog did its business in the right place. One of these times the door locked behind her, and she was stuck out back.
I was in the midst of a morning rush, focused on my work and didn’t hear her calling for help. What I did notice was Elisha stumping first to the back door, then to the entry way for his boots, then to me to ask for help putting them on. I helped him, only vaguely wondering what prompted this sudden interest in shoes.
We have a hard-and-fast rule that the children cannot enter the garage without something on their feet.
He next tromped to the back door and went into the garage. I followed to give the “What do you think you’re doing” speech and finally heard Natasha’s frantic yells. Elisha had already run across the garage and I followed him. I still don’t remember who opened the door for her, but I was quick to tell Natasha it was Elisha who first heard and came to her rescue.
More recently the children were just finishing the dishwasher and Melody got her finger stuck in the door.
Now, Melody is (currently) my most reactive child, and that causes me to filter every sound she makes and sometimes to discount the significance of her distress. On this particular day, all three children were standing by the door and has happened before, someone besides Melody initiated the closing of the door.
She has screamed about this before with her hand hanging on the closed door, so I hope anyone will understand when I admit I launched into my “this isn’t how we communicate” lecture.
Through wails that nearly obscured her meaning she finally communicated that her finger was stuck, and before I could cross the room Elisha had stepped forward and pulled the door back open for her.
This was something the girl could have done for herself if she had thought of it, but one of my current frustrations is that she will fixate on a problem to the exclusion of looking for a solution. This is *very* frustrating to me.
My own M.O. is to “manage” any pain or issue by focusing on the solution or the search for one. I hope this is a difference that we may work out sooner rather than later.
Then, just today (sparking my interest in writing all this down), the children were watching Finding Nemo and Natasha called to me to sit with her for “a scary part” (she’s not truly scared, anymore, but it has become something of a ritual) when I came to her she was leaning against Elisha (who would be half her size except he was sitting on the arm of the loveseat) with his arm around her shoulders.
“He told me, ‘Don’t be afraid, Natasha,’ ” she said, obviously delighted. “I don’t need you now.”