Repetitive Annoyances or Precious Memories?

This morning Carter woke up early and crawled up with me in my chair. He had all 10 or so of his Chick fil A books that he has been carrying around now for several days, literally. He takes them to bed with him, he wakes up with them. He takes them in the living room and stacks them. If they fall over, he has a meltdown. Sometimes, he helps them fall over, then he has a meltdown...."NOOOoooooooooooooo!", he'll shout. It gets old. Whether it's having to find a beloved toy so that he can go to sleep or having to watch Larry Boy and the Bad Apple video 40 times before he moves on to the next video we'll watch, the routine can be very taxing on us grown ups. What's calming to them can drive us crazy.

This morning he wanted me to read his books to him, all 10 or so. Greg also reads all of them before he goes to bed at night, also upon request. As I was reading them to him (thankfully, he got distracted and I was able to stop at two or three books) he kept repeating the same response he does when Greg reads to him at night. He points to the pictures and says something about it, always the same. He likes his books to be read in order and if you skip a page....well, he will take you right back where you left off. The little fellow can't read but he sure knows his pictures.

There are umpteen different things that Carter says or does in his routine that can get REALLY old!
1. The way he has to say, "probably" before he answers anything we ask him, it is always said in a questioning tone. An example:
Me: Carter, do you want a cereal bar for a snack?
Carter: Probably, I would get sick if I ate a cereal bar.
2. The grunting noise he is currently doing with his mouth, just because he learned how and can
3. The way I have to give twenty hugs and twenty kisses at bedtime, not five, not ten...twenty each.
4. Carter has to have warm milk every morning. (EW!)
5. He carries his very tattered (no exaggeration) yellow blankies with him around the house.
6. The way he wants to wear his spiderman crocs with EVERYTHING, even on Sunday to church
7. The way he eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day and would be perfectly content if that was all he had to eat.
8. On that note, the way he scoffs at anything in casserole form I put on his plate for dinner. Meat, too.
9. The way bananas are ONLY for night time snack, he cannot have them any other time of the day.
10 The way that the term, "fruit" to him means those little fruit cups you buy in the store. Fresh strawberries, bananas and apples are NOT fruit! When he says fruit you know he means those little cups from the pantry. :-) And I could go on and on and on.

Everything has to have an order to it and if you get it out of order you will know it immediately. It's part of how he is developing. Sometimes we go along with him and sometimes we have to tell him he can't have his way or that it's okay to veer off in a different direction than the one he is going in.

Most of the time Greg and I roll our eyes at the endless repetitiveness of our preschool aged son. Sometimes we get really tired of the routine. Like this morning. I really wanted to sit in my chair, drink my coffee and have my devotions. So as I was sitting there reading his little books to him, I started resenting the routine. Then I remembered that he wasn't always going to be this little. And soon the routine would stop. Before too long, I will have to be searching him out and wanting him to include us in his routine, or insist that our regular routine as a family is still in place even though he has become a busy teenager and might think it uncool to hang with the 'rents! I can't imagine that day but I know it is coming.

So, I read him his books and smiled. It really warmed my heart. The next time I am having to do something that seems endlessly boring and routine I will try to remember that this too shall pass, and I will be longing for the days when he can sit in my lap and give me a BIG hug and kiss, or twenty, and ask me to read to him.