Sunday, 28 January 2018

Battling the Blend between Baby and Boy

What a month this has turned out to be. A new year, eight birthdays including a 21st, 30th, 40th and 50th (I kid you not), a kid in Grade 1, end of maternity leave for me... And despite a desperately depleted bank account, the madness of the new year, and a fresh wave of back-to-work blues, the most difficult by far has been Sam.

Actually, it's not Sam who has been difficult. Sure, after the first morning of unbridled excitement and eagerness to get to school, there were tears pretty much every day the following week, but that's expected, isn't it? In truth, it's the blurred line between Baby and Boy that gets me. Here is my two - nearly three - year old, who is outgoing and friendly, and a big brother already, but he is also still nursing and going to school for the very first time, without his brother or cousins along for the ride. And I'm not sure I know how to manage this well.

Biologically, chronologically and physiologically, I understand the difference between a newborn, an infant, a baby and a toddler. But I can't be the only one struggling to find the emotional and developmental distinction? In fact, not long after starting at the new creche, I was sort of mom-shamed for nursing Sam. I don't know if it was more shock at the fact that I still nurse him, or awkwardness by the fact that I don't have a problem nursing in public. Either way, I battled with all I was feeling.

Increasingly I find myself in the grey area not knowing when to tend and when to tough-love; when to linger and when to leave, and wondering why it isn't possible to sometimes just do both. I want to hold onto this baby with his blankey and his beebee, and yet, this same boy is wearing an underpants all day, and saying words like "either"and "both"in the correct context!

In an attempt to cut us both some slack, here are some of my intentions right now, adapted from something my sister sent to encourage me:

- I'm going to love my child the best way I can. Sometimes it will involve comfort and cuddles; other times it will require rules and restrictions.

- I'm going to teach and train my child, in his own time, to develop his own unique qualities and skills.

- I'm going to nurture my child so that he knows he is accepted and supported for who he is, and not what he can do.

This is what I'm going to focus on. This, and being present, because before I know it, I'll just blink and my Baby will be all Big Boy. There is beauty and blessing of this in the blur, and I don't want to miss it.

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