So, today was a little better. Eli had his four year well child check up (a month late, yes) and I talked pretty frankly with our doctor about my concerns regarding his behavior. Part of me was thinking, "Oh, why bother him, and anyways, he's a doctor of BODIES, not brains. What can he tell you that you couldn't google or read in a book or don't already know?" But the other part of me thought, "It couldn't hurt to bring it up, and anyways, might as well get your money's worth out of the visit!"
As it turned out, he did have an interesting observation. He asked if anything had changed in Eli's daily life lately, and besides Addy going to school full time, the only other thing I could come up with was the fact that I've been spending a lot of my free time doing doula training prep: reading, spending more time online and on the phone with either my doula mentor or with the friend who is my first "practice" client. I've also had to leave several times in the evenings and weekends for meetings with these people. Not a huge deal, and nothing I thought to discuss with Eli, but the doctor suggested that possibly he's feeling kind of abandoned by me since I have something new with which I am, admittedly, a little preoccupied. Huh.
Who knows if that's really it, or just the rotten fours (what was it Elisabeth said awhile ago? That she keeps looking for a book to help her with her own Eli, but that the title she's looking for, "Your Four Year Old: A Tremendous Asshole" seems to be out of print or something?) but after talking about it honestly with Jim, the doctor, my mom, my friend, you all... I decided that regardless of the root of the problem, the solution is probably found in that old saying, "Children need love the most when they deserve it the least."
So, after dinner tonight, even though he fussed and whined and refused to eat it, we made cookies together and had fun. That felt good.