I don't often go in to a great deal of detail about my boys when I write about them. It's a conscious decision as I'm a little uneasy about sharing a story that isn't entirely my own. It's nice to record snippets though and I think you all know that my cheeky two form a huge part of my life even if they don't appear in every post. I'm very much a mum but I tend to use this little space of mine to share my personal interests (interiors, crafts, photography, the countryside and chocolate) as opposed to any of their character traits and achievements. That's not to say that I don't cherish them or relish in them ... they're simply in my head and my heart, and rarely on paper or screen.
However, I want to share one particular story with you because I've hinted at a few difficulties in previous posts, and suddenly, everything has changed.
My littlest dude has just turned three and is probably what you'd consider to be a typical boy. I don't believe in stereotypes but he loves cars, aeroplanes, dirt, rough and tumble, and fighting. He's loud, fierce and incredibly stubborn. But on the flip side, he has the sweetest soul and the kindest manner ... and he loves his mama with all of his heart and then some. And so he has to be near me or touching me or in sight of me AT ALL TIMES. Seriously, at all times. Day or night. During the day, he's my constant shadow, and at night, he's either sandwiched between Paul and I, or legs and arms over me. 'I need you, Mama', in a panicked, little voice is the soundtrack to my dreams. That's how it has been with him since I can remember.
We intended to put him in nursery for a couple of mornings from the age of two but it didn't work out. We tried leaving him with his grandmother for an hour, instead. But he was completely distraught. It's not even so long ago that he was happy with Paul for more than a morning or afternoon. It's the strangest thing because even the strictest of our relatives and friends who would normally say, 'He'll get used to nursery if you keep on taking him', or, 'He'll stop crying as soon as you leave', recognised that with my littlest, it was more than a stubborn refusal. His need to have me near was both a mental and physical one and not simply a cry for the familiar or a want of attention.
And so we have taken the long way round with him, and never, if rarely, pushed him out of his comfort zone. It's taken a lot of time and a lot of sleepless nights and moments where I thought I'd never get to be alone again. But we wanted to let his confidence grow naturally and in his own time ... not to push him against his very determined will.
I'm not going to lie, it's been hard. A complete and utter lack of sleep and not exactly being the most patient person anyway has left me, at times, pretty much in despair and with a feeling of being suffocated. I've always been adamant that this is the way it has to be, though. It felt right even at the toughest of times.
Now, it appears as though we're 'there'. He's done it. We've done it. Whatever has been scaring him for three years seems to have disappeared, or at least waned somewhat. I'd stopped asking him if he'd like to go to nursery or if he'd like to spend some time with his grandparents, but last week, he asked to go to his grandmother's, 'by myself'. I was instructed to drop him off, wave, and then to come and pick him up again a while later. I left him for a couple of hours not really knowing what I would return to, but it was a beaming boy, full of pride at his new accomplishment, and statements of, 'I a big boy, now', and even requests to return on a weekly basis.
There seems to have been an almost-overnight change in him. Yes, he still likes to be close to me and the requests for hugs and kisses remain as frequent but it feels like we've turned a corner. So begins the next period in our lives, one of more independence for both of us. A little breathing space for me and a chance to learn from and be loved by a greater group of people for him. It might have taken a while longer than normal but I think I've just said goodbye to my baby and hello to my little boy.
Huge thanks to Laura Ashley for the bobble hat and to Lindt for the chocolates. When the days are long and the nights are sleepless, cosy knits and truffles are always, ALWAYS welcomed and appreciated.