In the last couple of weeks or so the dreaded parenting guilt has crept in again. (note to self, read old post about dealing with the guilt...or write a better one!)
As anyone with more than one child will know, we become a lot more relaxed as parents the second time around. You know, you see your child eating Cheerios that they have cheerfully scraped off the floor and you nonchalantly realise you haven’t bought cheerios in a month rather than go running for the Calpol to help fend off the illnesses that’s-a-coming since they just ingested so many bad bad germs. Or you don’t go rushing to their bedroom every time they let out the smallest whimper and sit stroking their head till they fall back asleep, when you then commando crawl out the room. Now you wait till they’ve been screaming the house down for a good while….and even then you just tell them to sshh and stomp back out to finish watching House of Cards.
So I’m fine with all of that. We’ve found it all much easier the second time around and haven’t worried so much about the small things and that’s definitely a good thing.
What’s getting me though is the realisation now that some of the expectations we had for T were pretty unreasonable. Things that totally aren’t even a big deal, but they would stress me out so much at the time.
Like he’d ask to take his scooter out and then go on it for 36.6 seconds and then would refuse to get back on it so I’d end up carrying him and the scooter all the way home, sweat dripping down my back, muttering FFS under my breath the whole time.
Or we’d get the paints out and he would smear one line across the paper and flounce off to do something else, leaving me to clean up.
Or he’d take his shoes and socks off on every car journey just moments from home. Or he would spit food onto the floor. Or he’d hit people for no reason. Or he would run around going batshit crazy every night from 5pm.
All of the things that normal toddler does. We just didn’t know it at the time. We thought because he’s a clever cookie he was just doing all of this to drive us to the point of breakdown. But now we have another clever one…who behaves exactly the same.
So now I’m feeling so bad because it’s totally obvious that this is just normal toddler behaviour and wee L doesn’t get the same tellings off as he did. He still gets a harder time actually because we always have to remind him that she’s only little and she’s still learning. It’s just a shame we didn’t realise this when he was behaving in the exact same way a couple of years ago.
So to my amazing wee guy….
I’m sorry that we’ve been a bit hard on you.
I’m sorry that we were a bit thick and didn’t know that you were just being a normal toddler.
I’m sorry that our expectations for your behaviour have sometimes been a bit unrealistic.
The upside to all of this is that now, while your sister is also a completely normal toddler, she has an amazing older brother that she just adores and wants to be like and to copy and you are setting some great examples.
I’m not talking about when you grit your teeth and look like you want to squash her head.
Or when you run full pelt into her.
Or when you sneakily give her a wee jab in the side, just because you can.
I’m talking about when you give her praise, or you help her with something, or you take the time to explain why she shouldn’t be doing something naughty. She listens to you and wants to please you so I know she’ll learn quickly.
We’ll try to go a little easier on you and remind ourselves that you’re only 5 after all.
And when I’m feeling guilty about how we just didn’t have a bloody clue what we were doing with you most of the time, I’ll try to remember that you’ve turned out blinking well Amazing really, with us two numpties as your guidance.
Love you wee guy,