I’m one of those parents who finds the whole baby thing really hard work and I’m much more comfortable once they reach the toddler stage. Perhaps it is because my first little boy always had trouble sleeping and I was permanently exhausted. My second son had reflux until he was ten months so the early days were spent covered in vomit while I constantly tried to find a position that was comfortable for him. I found them both so much easier once they reached six months and started responding and interacting with me; When I began to get smiles, giggles and hugs and when the boys learnt to move around. In fact, most people find it hard when their children start moving but for me it was a blessing. Both boys got extremely frustrated and would lie on their tummies waving their arms and shouting! Once they moved they were so much happier!
With my youngest now 20 months I definitely feel like I’m back in my comfort zone. Things are settling down nicely and the boys are beginning to play together and keep themselves a bit more entertained. I have more time to get things done, I even have more time to get myself ready in the mornings.
Now, just as everything seems to be running smoothly my 5 year old has what I can only call ‘a wobble’. He is a confident, popular boy who has been at school for 18 months and has always loved it. Suddenly he doesn’t want to go. I’ve spoken to his teacher who assures me he’s his normal happy self in the classroom and each night he comes home full of news and chatter about his day. However, getting him through the doors every morning is turning into a complete nightmare. He says the reason he doesn’t want to go is that he misses me. How can I argue with that? He just wants to stay home with me and his little brother. I suppose he’s going through a stage of emotional development but it’s so hard. I’ve had to explain that we have no choice, he has to go to school and he seems to understand that. But watching his sad little face as he waves to me every morning is breaking my heart. I feel like the Mummy from hell forcing him to do something he doesn’t want.
So, despite feeling safe in the knowledge that things are going well with my toddler, I’m experiencing new anxieties with my big boy. My confidence that things get easier as they get older has waned as I realise that the school years are introducing all kinds of issues that I don’t feel equipt for. It’s new ground and while all I want to do is give him a cuddle and let him stay home I know that we’re going to have to find a way to work through it. Parenting is a tough business and the hard work doesn’t stop once they’re weaned and out of nappies.
Whatever new challenges lie ahead, there is one thing that is for certain. As a parent you should never get too comfortable. Just when you think you’ve got everything sussed and things are going well, something always changes and bites you on the ass!