Perception is everything I realised today. On our way home from mass child 2 said that child 4 had been really really good today. I looked at him in complete amazement and was astonished that he actually meant it.
From my perspective I had thought he had been a nightmare. My story was lifting and seat belting child 4 into his car seat whilst he fought me, then the walk from the car park to the church, where he refuses to hold my hand but I have to keep him close because he obviously has no road sense. Once we get into church, there is no possible chance that child 4 will sit quietly for an hour and of course I would not expect him too but I tend to spend the whole hour up and down and in and out chasing my "errant" child, attempting yet failing to encourage him to sit with a sticker or colouring activity. I have always assumed that because I am running around after him and dealing with his tantrums everyone else looks on judging my parenting and wondering how this little boy will grow up.
In fact, I realised today that I am the only one judging my parenting asking if I am enough, do I give enough and will that be enough for him to grow into the man he has the potential to be.
Foolish lady that I am. I may not be enough but I give everything I have and that will be enough. Child 4 is an active, ok very active two year old but there is not a malicious bone in his body. I should perhaps forget or accept that I have to run around after this little gorgeous bundle of energy, the way he learns is by experience which means that of course I have to keep him safe - he has to hold my hand when we walk along the road, I have to lift him off the book shelves when I catch him trying to scale them and I have to ensure that he stays safely strapped into his car seat. All this and more can be exhausting for me but perhaps instead of worrying, I should take more heed of those who are not so exhausted. My good friend KBS who laughs when I tell her the latest child 4 endeavour and tells me that he is just like a male version of child 3, when my parents smile at his latest adventure but remind me of how he loves a cuddle. The old dears in church who always tell me what a grand job I am doing and wasn't he good and he is quieting down and is learning how to behave when at mass. They honestly seem to love him being there even if he behaves like an active two year old behaves. My family and friends say that he is so very settled and that he is growing up into a lovely little boy, we as a family are doing an amazing job with him, he has only been with us 9 months, that is not even a third of his life!
I need to take a step back and instead of looking at the bits that I am currently struggling with, I should really look at what has changed. I am his mummy, "my mummy" he shouts especially if one of his older siblings is having a cuddle with me and then he flies over worming his way in between us. The older ones think that it's hysterical so will purposely cuddle me saying very loudly "my mummy" and watch for his reaction. He does sometimes do what I tell him the first time now, he sits for 3 books at bedtime and pushes for again if it means a few more minutes sitting up with us all. He eats more fruit and a much more varied diet than just cheese. His speech is fantastic and he loves making things, bubble mixture and playdough are favourites. He comes to find me to kiss his hurts better and he asks me to sing his bedtime cuddle song. He can sit at the table for his meals and says please, thank you and sorry. And even when he pushes the boundaries he knows that he is loved, safe and secure. Well based on that we are doing a pretty good job and hopefully my conscious parenting course tomorrow will support all that we are already achieving.