Thursday, March 18, 2010

One less than ten, one more than eight

At this time nine years ago I was lying in a hospital bed in a ward (four beds, two occupied) with this squirmy wrinkled three-week-early boy child completely in my care. It was a shared room so Dan couldn't stay. I remember vividly the feeling when he left at the conclusion of visiting hours. "Well, I am on my own. I've had the baby. WHAT ON EARTH DO I DO NOW?"

Thank goodness for the wonderful midwives. I rang the buzzer and whimpered at them. "I have no idea what to do! What do I do if he cries?" And they helpfully advised, "Well, he'll probably either be hungry or dirty. Don't forget to burp him."

Nine years later and he's still usually hungry, dirty and definitely burps a lot. The dirt is not nappy-related at least! Just school boy-related. But I still have that utterly helpless feeling at times. "What do I do if he cries?"


Times lately have been challenging. Dante has anger management issues. So do I, to tell the truth. Things I say to him come straight out of his mouth later. This afternoon Dan and I had a meeting (with the boy) and the after school care co-ordinator and one of the carers. There was an incident at school last week (during aftercare) and I quote the co-ordinator: "I've never had a child injure a staff member before".

However, it came out well in the end. Dante was extremely apologetic and regretful. In fact when questioned he couldn't even recall exactly what went on. Either that or he has become a very accomplished liar. I don't think so. The carers were incredibly wonderful. And Dante was so composed and responsive in our little meeting. It all went really well, was such a positive experience. I was quite concerned and worried. The relief poured out of me in tears afterwards. Bah! What a sook!

But it was more than relief. Guilt, I guess. We always take the blame for our children's behaviour. I mean, who else are they going to learn from? I've got to try harder.

Even after nine years there is so much to learn. It's exhausting.

1 comment:

twanky, jedi, evilgenius said...

I know the feeling of shock/guilt when you get told that your kid plays up at school only too well. My own theory is it's oldest child syndrome; they end up bright, but don't get so many of the social graces that subsequent siblings have from dealing with one another from the word go.

Leylah (10 1/2) is an only child, and I had a 7 year head start on my sister. I had anger issues (though I only ever hit out at other kids!), so I recognised the same pattern emerging in Leylah early. I try to talk stuff through with her often; how kids wind her up, suggested strategies to cope (including but far from exclusively sharp put-downs & when to kick someone in the balls!). It helps a lot to make space for just the two of you away from distractions like TV, maybe during a drive or whilst doing something that can be multitasked together, like drawing or cooking.

There's no definitve answer, and most every parent feels guilty for their kids at some point. It's just a sign that you actually care about them, which is a very good thing indeed. :o)