Monday, September 16, 2013

Support Required

It's the usual thing, isn't it?  When life is busy or overwhelming or wonderful, the online life goes on hold.  Which is, of course, just as it should be. The only trouble with that can be that when life is difficult, especially with young children, the physical isolation and/or emotional isolation of your situation can take its toll.

These bike photos were taken on a terrible, terrible day a couple of weeks ago.  Although the day itself was fine enough by the afternoon the slow burn of Ted's growing insolence and entitlement had worn me to the bone. 

Not only was it the events of that one day, but the cumulative events of many, many days prior to that.  You may recall that I am no fan of four.  I do believe it was the deep nadir of Harriet's existence and it would seem Ted is in no hurry to prove me wrong on that front either.  

I have been so incredibly grateful for the last year of almost-regular sleep, since it's aided me in having the emotional resources required, in order to handle his demands and strong personality.  But I've also been grateful for the wonderfully supportive group of women around me that let me know it's ok to lose it every now and then.  In fact I'm pretty sure I lose it with four year old members of this family than any other age.

All the discussion and research and gentle parenting and playful parenting and redirection and mindful presence just can't make up for someone who gives you a hug and understands completely when you tearfully wonder aloud if they will EVER be a sane child, ever again?

On this occasion I had a curt vent on Facebook.  I was immediately flooded with responses, messages of support, offers for help and dinners and all sorts of beautiful, considerate people wanting to let me know that this end-of-your-tether, no-more-reserves kind of response was normal.  Nay, not even just normal but necessary. 

And for that sort of support I was incredibly grateful.  Not one person tried to offer another method or approach, no-one chastised me or judged me (well I'm sure some people judged but they didn't write it down!).  There was just support.

And guess what?  The very next morning, Ted was an angel.  An absolute angel.  He held a birthday party for his toys, declared that he was "feeling unprepared for the election on Saturday", had lovely in-depth discussions with me about all topics, fetched me food and water and made his own lunch.

180 degrees on the head of a pin.

I'm assuming it's all part of the developmental mad sprint going on in his mind and body at the moment.  About a month ago now I think, he made a treasure hunt for Harriet.  He wrote out these notes for her and then left the next clue in the appropriate places, ending in finding a toy he chose from the playroom.  I mean, that's really cute.  But then by the end of the day there is always fighting.  Always.  Ted is just violent and mean-spirited to Harriet at the moment, and she has been having a few issues with another child lately so she has little patience to deal with him in a more patient and understanding manner.  

*sigh*  The other day I realised that since Ted has turned four I've probably had more alcohol at home than at any other time of my life.  I know for a fact that I've drunk a bottle of red wine over each fortnight for the past month or two.  Before children I don't think James nor I even stored alcohol in the house at all.

Clearly whilst on an artistic spree, Ted walked into the dining room to announce that he had established an art installation in the lounge room.  We entered, to find these black pastel drawings on our computer screens.  Deep.  Very deep.

Harriet was highly motivated to attend the election at our local school after our recent experience with political engagement.   She made this sign and then Ted wanted to make one as well (of course). 

 When asked why people should "vote one the Greens", Ted answered very matter-of-factly that it was because "The Greens will look after refugees and they care for the Earth". 

Unfortunately as we walked up to the school, Harriet was not only disappointed to find out that she couldn't take her sign into the school hall, but completely and utterly devastated about it.  She ripped up her sign before we arrived, sat and sobbed at the entry point to the polling booths and was generally very crumpled in spirit.

After assisting with the below-the-line numbering of boxes with James, however, she seemed more buoyant.  Who wouldn't?  Doesn't engaging in the democratic process bring a lighter step to everyone's day?

Surprise!  Puppy!  Ah yes, but not ours.  The house behind us has acquired this deliciously sweet puppy and since we seem to share a low level interest in fence building (with apologies to Frost), their puppy took a shining to our highly energetic, animal-loving children.  Unfortunately after a few days of pure puppy joy, I had to shore up the hole with a bit more vigour.  The puppy was growing at a rate that would have seen it increasingly difficult to move through the hole easily, and I didn't want the owners to be knocking on our door or yelling over the fence.  They may have been looking for the dog but on some days we may have handed over the children instead.

But 'tis spring!  Our garden is flowering and growing wildly right now.  I'll leave you with a few photos of our backyard from a couple of weeks ago now.  I have my fingers crossed that we may actually harvest some citrus this year.

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