Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A pinch to grow an inch...

Sometimes the things that make the greatest impression on a mother's heart are those things that are the saddest.  The wry and funny things, those that are laughed at loud and long, are the ones that slip quickest from our memories.  Pity, that.

I had a sad one to deal with the other day.  I took the boys to kindergarten, and, as is my habit, stayed around for a few minutes longer just to make sure that they were settling in and didn't need me before I left to do the day's chores.  The boys are normally very conscious about me being with them for that time, and they take it upon themselves to show me around the kindy importantly, pointing out things I might not have noticed on one of my other humdred trips there.  With great excitement, they led me around, showing me the swings, the lovely playground, the computers.  

One large disadvantage of having the mother along, though, is the fact that normal small infractions of the rules that usually go unnoticed are suddenly remarked on and corrected.  I could see that one of my two had had enough when I asked him not to put the glass bricks on top of one another on the table, in case they fell off and were damaged.
In a fit of pique, he said to me "Please go home now, Mama!"

"Ok," I said, "I will go home now if you want me too."
I tried to act casual, like it was no big deal, but perhaps I am not as good an actress as I think I am.  I gathered my things and started walking towards the door.
Within a few heartbeats, I heard loud sobs coming from behind me as my little boy came flying to find me.
"I am so sorry, Mama," he was crying over and over, "I didn't really mean what I said."

Trying to leave the kindy after that became a mission impossible.  Every time I tried to walk towards the door, he would break out into a new fit of hysteria, and I would have to console him again and try to get him to go back to his group.  Eventually, I had to hand him over to his teacher, leaving him crying as though his heart was broken.  It was the first time I have had to leave one of them upset, and I drove home like a mad thing, to jump on the phone to find out if all was okay with my little boy yet.  Of course, he had been fine the moment I pulled out of the parking lot.

But I was made aware of just how sensitive a young child's soul can be.  Later that night, as I was putting them to bed, thinking the whole incident forgotten, he looked deeply into my eyes, just as I do to them when I want them to understand some thing really important.  Then he said to me, "I really didn't mean it, Mama.  I don't ever want you to leave me".  

And so I could go to bed that night, secure in my boy's love for me.  What a great feeling.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Ride like the wind...

Our paths through the wonders of raising children are a lot like teaching those children how to ride a bike.  I saw the parallels myself today when taking the littlies through the first joys, heartaches and ultimate triumphs of riding their first two-wheeler bikes.

There is the beginning phase, where every moment is encompassed in just keeping them alive.  The Sweetpea and I, holding onto fistfuls of jacket at the scruffs of the boys necks as they teetered on their bikes along the path, were able to guide the bikes and keep them upright by holding onto the handlebars with what, at times appeared to be only our teeth, or possibly even just one foot. Every swerve we were able to counter, and when all fell apart, as it invariably does, were were able to let the bike plunder on to its inevitable crash while the little rider in question dangled in his jacket from our clenched fists, like a kitten from its mother's jaws; scared, but unharmed. 

As their confidence grew, we were able to take our hands off the handle bars for increasingly longer times, relinquishing the control we had fought so hard to keep just a few moments earlier.  This required trust, a belief that the boys could be responsible for managing on their own, yet still with our presence close enough to them to swoop in and grab them up if they seemed like they were losing control.  Their repeated cry to us at this time was "Please don't let me go," and in fact, most of the more spectacular crashes at this time were caused by the boys looking behind them to see if we were indeed still holding onto them.  We always were.

But then comes a time when, as a parent, you are just running alongside the bike.  Not needed, really, but essential for moral support.  "You are doing it - you are riding by yourself!"  And the power and self-confidence that comes through knowing that they can ride as fast as they like, but if they come off, mom or dad are right there to catch them, makes them almost invincible.

And then the saddest, most heart-wrenching and proudest moment comes all too soon.  "Don't hold me any more, Mama, I can do it by myself." Like winged creatures, they are off, joining the throngs of others riding the paths, and you are left with your heart in your mouth, praying that you have given them enough skills to make their way through the world, to avoid the pitfalls, to pay heed to the slower riders, the younger, the more accomplished.  

And mostly, you are praying, with all that is in you, that they will know how to find their way back to you again.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Bare Necessities...

Okay, so it was one of those conversations.  We were all lying on the bed, the boys had just had their bath and were snuggling up under the covers naked before getting into their pajamas for bed.  We were enjoying the silence when Paddy piped up.

"Daddy, what are these?"
We all look to see what he is referring to.  There is an awkward silence as the Sweetpea and I mentally tried to coerce each other into replying. 

"They feel like little balls," he adds conversationally into the silence.
"They are called testicles," the Sweetpea eventually says, obviously opting for the medical terminology.
"Mine are small," adds Paddy, "but yours are humongous, Daddy."

Much uncomfortable laughter ensues. A silence falls and I start praying that it spells the end of the conversation. No such luck.

"Can I see your little balls, Mama?" was the next question.  No way was I going to go there.
"Mummies don't have balls, darling," I say.
"Well what do they have, then?"
Little Miss Snoopy is by now shouting "Thanny, thanny," but the boys don't catch her drift.

The Sweetpea takes control of the situation with yet another medical explanation. "Blah...blah...uterus,  a house where the babies grow in their mummies' tummies, blah...blah...ovaries...." he drones on.

The boys listen with interest, but I fear, not much understanding.

A short while later, Sam says confidentially to Paddy: "Cool - we've got tentacles!"

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Sunday, 3 June 2012

School daze...

We are suddenly at that stage in life when we need to choose a school for the boys.  I know I shouldn't say suddenly, as we have had four years to get here in the first place.  It just seems to have gone too quickly, and I am afraid I have dropped the ball on this one.  There is still time, I suppose, between now and next year March, but I feel dreadfully unprepared for what is, I feel at the moment, one of the most momentous decisions of my life.

We went to visit a school last week as part of the outings for the term at kindy.  They combined the school visit with participation in their school movement programme, a wonderful opportunity for the kids to see the "big" kids doing their exercises that have been designed to help with crossing the mid-line and promote concentration in class.  It was fantastic to see them all running and jumping, landing in circles and walking on the balance beam, with the principal smiling indulgently and on hand to answer any questions that the prospective parents had to ask.  I was impressed with my two (I always am, I am their mom, after all), but mostly for their wholehearted enthusiasm and ability to throw themselves into the activities without the self-consciousness that I am sure I had at their age.  I would have been the one holding back, standing where I could not be noticed, thinking "if I can only make it through without making an absolute idiot of myself I will be fine."  They had none of that hesitancy or self-doubt.  Not sure how that happened, but I fervently hope that air of competence and confidence stays!
At the end of the hour-long programme, they gathered the children around (about fifty in total) and talked through the reasons for the exercises, the improved muscle tone, better concentration, etc.  "Right, boys and girls," the principal rounded off the  little chat, "are there any questions you would like to ask?"

Not surprisingly, it was one of mine who raised his hand. 
"Is there a chance we could rather play at the park?" he asked loudly.

Oh well, I suppose we can scratch that school off the list now...

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory