January 15, 2014

Letting go and letting grow

I don't remember being a young mum. I blocked that first year with Ron completely because the only thing I do remember is the feeling that it will never end. The only thing I remember is how much I felt that it will never change. That when people told me that when he is three I won't remember, when they looked at me and said that babies grow up, when they promised it will all be ok - I didn't believe them. In my mind then it seemed as if even when he does grow up eventually and is no longer a baby, it will still be the same - that endless cycle of misery. Bit by bit he grew up and I regained some sanity and the ability to leave the house without taking half the house with me, and bit by bit I blocked it all until I was willing to give up everything I gained back in order to have Yon.
Yon was our "easy" baby (though compared to Ron all other babies are easy), and still if you ask me now how I got them to sleep through the night, or how I potty-trained them or how I weaned them, I will have no answers to give you. I don't remember any of it. As far as I'm concerned it just happened and I didn't do anything to facilitate it. It's all the boys by themselves.
Yon is also our last child. Hidai and I reached that decision a while back and never looked back. I am not sorry for that decision (on the contrary) but it does mean Yon can stay in his favourite position in the family - the baby. Ron was always the classic firstborn, and I was eager for him to grow up which worked very well with his wish to grow up, so he always gives you the feeling that you can really talk to him, like you would explain things to an another adult. Yon is a classic second (or last) child - he does not want any responsibility, he lives for attention and laughs, he is a notorious drama-queen, and he wants to stay a baby. He wants his nickname to stay "Baby Yon", he wants to be cuddled and kissed and hugged, he wants to be "tiny".
As it happens he wants all these things but without actually giving up his ability to do everything he wants "by myself!" so his wanting to stay small is more theoretical than anything else. The problem is that I sometimes stop and realise I forgot again. I forgot he isn't a baby anymore, he isn't even a toddler anymore. He is four and a half. But between him saying he is tiny, his being the youngest, my tendency to forget (who knows what 4 years old are supposed to be like?), my unwillingness to compare him to Ron (unfair to any other child anyway) and his Ocular Albinism and special needs - it is easy to forget and "baby" him.
With Yon, it's easy to look at him and not really see who he is or what he can do. Mainly because you don't really believe he can. As easy a baby as he was, he was a very tough to handle toddler. The last couple of years (up until this July when he turned 4), saw us battling behaviours and habits and roadblocks we never imagined we would have to.
To my untrained eyes, it looks as though Yon had some developmental delays, mainly because of side-afffects of his Ocular Albinism. We are still worried about his speech, and eating habits, and his learning abilities. But this past 6 months he made such a big improvement in everything, and really closed the gaps. And still sometimes you forget that he can, that he should, that he needs to be challenged.
It is a constant battle the believing he needs to be challenged and us wanting to teach him he can do anything and everything on the one hand, and not over protecting him on the other. We are over protective anyway, and with Yon it is even stronger, that need to keep him close and away from any harm.
This is how we found ourselves a couple of weeks ago at Winter Wonderland standing in front of the rides intended for younger children looking a bit baffled. Yon wanted to go on the flying airplanes one. Ron wasn't feeling very well and though he wasn't really sick I didn't want to take the chance that all the spinning will cause him to feel worse and throw up in the middle of the fair. The airplanes did not have seats big enough for adults to accompany the kids. Yon was insisting he wants up.
What do you do?
We stood there a while, letting him see the ride in action, trying to gauge if he understands what it means. He doesn't like to be "up" usually. He feels less secure and after a few seconds he always wants to "go down" and feel the ground underneath him. He never went on any ride by himself. He was really insisting by that time that he wants to get on. What do you do?
We let him do it.
We let him grow, and stretch his wings.
And he did.

I am linking this with Jane's Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky, which is meant to celebrate our children's achievements, though I really am not sure weather the achievement here was ours or Yon's.

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