When my son was just under two years old, I realised that the poor boy had no idea how to socialise with other children. Whenever there were more than three children together, I would watch him hang about at the periphery, watching them intently and silently begging for them to invite him to join their game. But they were too busy playing to notice him…
Since we were about to have another baby in a few months, it was decided that he would be sent to play school. So as to not feel that the change in his life was directly related to said new baby, we sent him off a few months before she was due. As a mother I thought it would be much better to let him ease into the new routine slowly; turns out that was entirely the wrong thing to do! It’s supposed to be more like a band-aid-thing. You just rip it off and deal with the consequences!
It took him three heart-wrenching months to stop crying in the mornings when I dropped him off. It is the worst feeling a mother can feel. You feel guilty. You’re already delegating the care of your child to someone else, and now you are abandoning him on a daily basis! I remember choking back the tears many a morning while he clung to the gate at the school, tears streaming down his face and screaming that he didn’t want to be left there.
As all things do, it too passed. Now, whenever he has not been to school for a day or two, he will start whining and telling me that he wants to go to school. It was a relief. Until I went to pick him up yesterday and instead of running to the gate, smiling and happy to see me, upon seeing my car coming into the driveway, he threw himself onto the floor, face-first and gave us all a great rendition of the dreaded temper-tantrum. Why? Because he wasn’t ready to leave! He was sulking all the way home and the minute I parked the car, the flood gates opened once more: he was really mad at me, because he was still playing with his friends. What a turnaround!
This would all have been fine. On it’s own. But on the same day, the baby’s off-switch breaks! She is almost 7 months old and I have very rarely had a problem getting her to go to sleep. You simply turn her on her side, give her a fluffy blanky to cuddle and wrap the blanket loosely around her. And then she sleeps. That easy!
As I am busy changing into my pyjamas, I hear a little: “aah”, and while I’m brushing my teeth, there are a few tentative “ooohs” and an “eh” but then, as I take off my slippers and get ready to slink under the duvet I am greeted from the next room by a definite squeal and a series of babbles. I sigh and get back up again.
I walk into the room and am greeted by the cutest smile and two sparkly, wide-awake eyes. I flip the switch and walk out. It goes quiet.
As my head sinks into the pillow, a loud squeal bounces through the dark night. I get up and go into her room again. I flip the switch. Before I can even leave the room, a plethora of babbles, squeals and screams erupts from the cot. I find myself in a mild state of panic – the baby’s off-switch is broken! What shall I do? How on earth will I ever sleep again?
I switch on the light and however cute this may have been at any other hour, right now, I just really wanted to go to bed! It seems rather unlikely now. So I pick her up and we chat about how big brother wanted to play with his friends rather than come home to mama and how grateful I am that at least she doesn’t yet mind being hugged, picked up cuddled and kissed!