How many times have you thought to yourself, "My child would never do that."
Guilty as charged. Yes, I was one of THOSE mothers. The one that saw other people’s children having tantrums in public and thinking, ’My child will never do that’. I can only think now how naive I was to believe this.
I was the one that wondered why parents wouldn’t just train their children properly with ‘reason’ and ‘sound advice.’
When I saw other people’s children with snotty noses and coughing with their mouths open, I thought to myself, ‘My child will never do that’. And to that I now say a big fat, capitalised H-A!
My judgements have come back to well and truly bite me in the butt. Those that believe in karma will nod their heads in the full knowledge that justice has been served.
My bub had his first tantrum because he couldn’t put a wooden block on top of another one without it falling off. It was a full blown crumbling 'Tower of Babel' (and I'm not talking about his wooden block tower). He fell to the ground in a haunting pile of tears and screams. And yes, I believe this will literally haunt me for the rest of my life. You parents know what I'm talking about. When faced with our child's first real tantrum, it's like our life turns another corner (like an awakening of sorts to a new life purpose) where we feel our job is now to prevent further tantrums at ALL costs.
But we'd also be naive to think that this is even possible.
The second tantrum came before his bedtime when he arched his back and behaved like a little demon-possessed monster baby. Then there was the time he also started smiling while looking directly at me with his lovingly cooked food in his outstretched hand before he forcefully threw it on the floor. I (half) jokingly say he does it on purpose and at 12 months it's still kind of cute. But I realise I can do nothing to stop this behaviour and I know now that there is more to come.
My bub has also had snot permanently falling out of his nose for 3 weeks and there are never enough tissues to combat that amount of mucus. There was nothing I could do to speed up his recovery and I fear there is more illness on its way as winter approaches. He’s too little to know to put a hand over his mouth when he coughs and I've had to eat a big piece of humble pie and realise, my child is THAT child.
He is also highly allergic to dairy and penicillin (found in antibiotics). He’s not quite the boy in the bubble but he has to have a shot of adrenaline if he ingests dairy in order to go back to a normal colour rather than bright red and itchy. Yes, my child is THAT child too.
The thing is, all of our children have their moments and I know I am going to be humbled even more as they arise and I'm forced to put aside my assumptions and judgements. Our little perfect peaches aren't so perfect after all and it's better we lay that assumption aside as quickly as possible. This doesn't, however, for a second mean that we stop loving them all the more.
You hear horror stories of toddlers having full screaming meltdowns in the supermarket and I still have this experience to look forward to (sigh). But the thing I realise now is that it’s okay. The tantrums, illnesses and allergies are awkward and annoying, embarrassing and worrying but overall… they are your kids and you love them so it’s going to be okay. And doesn't it make for good material for their 18th birthday party?
This is life and it’s messy and cute and frustrating but there are so many little things along the way that make it interesting. For one, hospital staff are amazing and I trust them to care for my little man if we need them. We are lucky to live in a place that has supermarkets with enough food with aisles for our little dude to have a tantrum in.
And as I dispose of yet another empty tissue box for the umpteenth time, I can see that even illness brings extra cuddles and a chance to bond and build relationship with the little guy. Glass half full right?