It’s been a while but I here I am. After all, winners never quit and I ain’t no quitter 🙂 I wrote exams this week on Child and Adolescent Development. I had to smile as I went through the text book. It brought back so many memories of when my son was a baby. It was actually pretty cool to see how far we had come together.
Motherhood is a challenge like no other but, for me, it is the most fulfilling role I get to play every day. The day I found out I was pregnant was a surprise of note but the best surprise ever. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful pregnancy. None of the usual aches and pains I had heard about and no morning sickness. I loved speaking to my son throughout the day and, in my last trimester, I would read Winnie the Pooh to him. We actually still read that book from time to time and it has become one of his favourites.
Then he arrived. I was scared, hormonal but very thrilled to finally meet him. He was a beautiful baby. He didn’t sleep much which drove me nuts but I was glad he had finally arrived.
Watching him become the person that he is today has been an inspiring and, sometimes nerve-wracking, pleasure. At 2.5 months or so, it’s like a light suddenly switched on and he really came alive. He had discovered his 3-year-old cousin who was clearly way better at entertaining and stimulating him than I was. He just lit up whenever he saw him. The bond that they formed during that time is still as strong as ever. We only get to see him about 2-3 times a year and the two still enjoy each others company. It was so cute to hear them last Christmas when it was time to say goodbye. His cousin told him how much he missed him because nobody “got him” the way my son did.
At 6 months the munchkin was crawling and started surfing the furniture. I would come home from work and just watch him explore. Of course, once he started surfing the furniture, standing was easy but getting back to a sitting position was a bit of a challenge. No problem for my kid, he spent about half an hour one night just practising how to lower himself without getting hurt. I was blown away when I realised what he was doing. At 14 months he decided he wanted to jump with 2 feet off the floor. He could do it on the bed but not on a hard floor. He practised every day. Then one day we went down to the farm and there was a trampoline. Well…he was such a comical site jumping and keeping his legs up mid-jump. He looked like a little frog. The look of sheer delight on his face though…priceless! He still sets himself goals and manages to achieve them. They are more challenging now like coming first in class but I am just glad to see that the behaviour has stuck. There have been many more moments like these along the way and I look forward to the many moments to come.
There is nothing more fulfilling as a mother than being able to look after your child/children. I have never enjoyed cooking but it has become a labour of love for my child. The best times are when we cook or bake together. I don’t know which was more shocking to my own mother, the day I called to say I was pregnant or the day I called to ask for her bacon and egg tart recipe. My mother is the best baker ever by the way and I think I may have inherited that gene (yay!). He has a great sense of style and is just really starting to discover himself so taking him shopping is quite fun. He also has a good eye for what will look good on me so he makes a great shopping companion. When he is sick, which thankfully is very rare, I get to nurse him back to health. At night we get to cuddle and read a story before I kiss him goodnight. He looks forward to our bedtime ritual every night. I probably only have another 2 or so years of it before he tells me he is too old for it so I cherish every opportunity that we have.
Every day is an opportunity to teach him something new even if it’s a new word. Fortunately, he is a curious soul like his mom so he enjoys learning and being challenged. Experience is also part of learning so I have tried to incorporate new experiences in whenever I can and when money allows. I remember reading in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, that one the differences between children from wealthier families compared to poorer kids is the way in which they spent their holidays. He had noted that the average test scores of children regardless of background at the end of a school term were about the same. However, when testing them again at the beginning of the next term, children from wealthier backgrounds tended to score higher. He surmised that one of the reasons for this is that wealthier kids tended to have experiences that cemented the knowledge they gained in class over the holidays while poorer kids tended not too as they were more likely to spend their time playing with friends at home. I can’t afford to give him a whole horde of different experiences every holiday but I can take him to museums, the aquarium, little road trips and the like to continuously bring to life what he learns and try and add to his knowledge and life experience. It’s also a great way to spend sometime together outside of our normal day to day setting.
I am fortunate in that my son enjoys participating in various sporting activities. Of course, it means my weekends get interrupted regularly but I don’t mind. He is having the time of his life and not sitting on a couch all day mindlessly watching cartoons or something.
The Psychologist/Confidante/Life Coach
For the first seven years of his life, it largely was just the two of us. We did everything together and, because we didn’t live near any other kids for most of that time, I was his best friend. Trust has been a very very important part of our relationship and I have had to work hard to ensure that he always feels safe enough to tell me about the things that bother him and the things that make him happy. When he was younger and still battling to process and articulate his feelings, at the end of story time, we would share what made us happy/mad/sad/scared that day. Through this and other exercises, I eventually figured out the sources of his tantrums and brought them to a halt. He has shared most of his little secrets with me although I think there are some that I think he has held back on. As long as they didn’t appear to have anything to do with his safety or peace of mind, I have respected his need to hold onto them. Lastly, there’s the role of life coach. Guiding his choices on who to hang out with, what sports to play and how to handle conflicts with other children or his teachers (as is prone to happen as he is very outspoken), has been a learning experience for me too.
There so many other hats I have to wear disciplinarian, spiritual coach, mentor and more. Each one of these roles is no more important than the next and all are tied together beneath a cloak of endless unconditional love. All parents even if their children are of the animal variety rather than human can attest to this being the most fulfilling love one can give and receive in return.
We are officially half way to legal adulthood. I am sure that the road will still have lots of twists and turns. God-willing, I will get to watch him grow into a man. I am looking forward to the journey.
If you enjoyed this blog please like and share.
Until next time…