Thursday, 9 May 2013

Sunshine and safety

Looking back through some of my posts, I see how I swing from happy and celebrating our achievements to low and feeling shit, and sorry for myself. I hope I don't show those mood swings to my kids...there are only a few people that I totally relax in front of when I'm feeling crappy.
Today, I'm swinging towards happy.

The sun helps doesn't it? We have had so much good weather over the last week it's been amazing. Dollop and I have cleaned the garden toys in our yard (although we're yet to attack the garden apart from getting rid of the old, second hand trampoline, and ordering the brand new safe one!), we've planted seeds (OK, so it might be a bit late, but they'll still grow), we have chalked all over the ground, blown bubbles, had a BBQ, tidied, swept and rearranged the yard, read in the sun, and just...played. And that's just at home.
We've also been to the beach and built sandcastles, gone for several walks, and been to the cinema (Dollop's first time!). Our moods are all better. The children are playing more happily together.

It's funny. If we go to visit family, the children often play nicely together these days. I'm sure people think we should just be pleased about it. They see two children enjoying each other's company. I wish I could see what they see.
But I see two children, well, one really, trying to hard to keep it together and be good in front of people he loves. He tries to please them, he tries to not cock-up in front of them, and he manages it well. It's tiring for him though because he's trying so hard to protect himself from the shame that will come if he makes a mistake. No-one minds if he makes a mistake...after all, he's only 6 and he's still learning. But, he cannot stop this fierce, in built sense of shame from bubbling over, then controlling his every move and thought, and so he works hard to avoid it. We gently whisper that we're all going home together...hopefully subtly so no-one notices that Mini is beginning to wobble, or is feeling unsure. We offer very gentle, discreet touch - a ruffle of hair, a stroke of his cheek, a reassuring tap on the shoulder, or even just a nod or a wink. He worries about many things, and that's tiring too.

After this comes the journey home. There is the gentle rocking of the car, the (not-so-gentle) rhythmic pattern of the motor turning and the engine running. But, when sleep comes, so do the nightmares and so sleep avoidance is important despite this comforting, gentle, slumbersome place.

Then home. And the tiredness really catches up. It's OK though because home is safe. Mum and Dad are safe. Mum and Dad are always there. In this safe place, it can all come out. We try to soothe and hold, but this antagonises and so it's best to let it all out, doing our best to be safe, keeping us all safe.

We're getting there. We're understanding better. We're parenting differently, and better I hope. The kids are more settled, and happier.

There are still concerns and worries when we're out and about. There is still MUCH reassurance to be done. But we're more confident we can do it, and we know our limitations now as a family, and we know what's best for Mini.


  1. What a gorgeous piece and how well you explain what Mini is going through. The fact that you do understand and with your trained eye you can read him so well will be helping him so much to start to read and understand himself. It's so true how vigilant you become in different environments and how little others see what you do. I often feel guilty that I'm fusing to much or not relaxing enough in others company, but I've also been there when you ignore the signs. It is hard to find a balance and I'm not sure there is one where as a parent you can ever take your mind off what may be about to happen. Sounds like you're doing an amazing job with Mini. xxx

    1. It is hard to find a balance isn't it? I'm slowly beginning to have enough confidence in my own abilities as a mum to do what I know best - whether that's fussing, or stepping right back, and I'm trying less to do what other people think I *should* do. Taken long enough, but we're getting there! Thanks Sarah xxx