Recently I read a blog that sympathised with parents of toddlers. With that relentless grind of constant attention needed day after day after day…. and it said: hang in there, this will pass, they will give back as well as receive and, one day, may even make you a cup of tea.
I had a brief ‘woe is me’ moment at that point as, whilst I can see that with Emma, with Alex… let’s be honest, it’s doubtful, we’ll always be caring for him. This will always be a one way street. Then I realised how unfair I was being, how far he had, in his own Alex way, changed and, well, grown up. As only Alex can.
Breakfast, in fact every meal, used to be a huge rushed affair as, the moment he realised it might be time to eat he would SHOUT until food arrived, rushed, unloved into his mouth. Phew. Peace. This was stressful every every day. These days he’ll play quite happily till it’s ready, either in his highchair or down on the floor with his toys (and shredded magazine and socks). We are left playing catch up with him as we still haven’t got out of the mentality of Hurry it UP! But he will wait. This makes an enormous difference to life as stress levels come down and more interesting meals can be made. (Though mainly when Emma isn’t with us as she still prefers ‘No Sauce’ and ‘Bland as you like’, thank you Mummy…).
I don’t have to ram his rubbery limbs into clothes. I suddenly realised he was helping. When I take his top off, up his arms go and out his head pops ‘Ta Daah!’. He does not fall over backwards. Not, that is, unless he finds the whole thing incredibly funny in which case he loses his balance and over he goes. We don’t get changed on high surfaces :-). When I go to change his nappy, or put his trousers on, he will lift his bottom. I only discovered this when one day, so engrossed was he in playing with a packet of wipes, that he didn’t, and I saw how much harder than usual that made the job. He engages, anticipates… he helps.
Most importantly for us when he wakes up – at whatever hour he deems appropriate in the morning – he does not shout to be got up. Well, occasionally he does, but this is rare. We can hear him, giggling away, chatting with his toys, playing with the mesh on the bed board (this saved our lives by the way, thank you)… but he is happy to play by himself so we can get up at a slightly more acceptable time, in a more leisurely fashion, without hitting action stations the moment his eyes open. This is huge.
And for Emma… we can all sit and watch a movie on a Sunday afternoon and Alex will sit and play, and be played with, whilst we do it. I genuinely never thought this would happen.
Tiny tiny things that just make life fun again, normal again, go an incredible way to making it a happy to be in house.
Hat goes on, hat goes off again…