But hard it is. Since Theo turned two and a half we have just been going through a very rough patch, which has in turn made me feel anxious and stressed out a lot of the time. I've mentioned before that we have had problems with him hitting and pushing other children, and even though it does seem to go in waves, it feels as though we are right at the peak at the moment, and I really don't know how much I can cope with. I've talked before about how I had a fear of going to playgroups, visiting the park or basically going anywhere where there might be other children we don't know. It may sound silly to some that I have these fears, especially of the lovely parks near me, but I just don't seem to have the energy to cope with them, and I feel anxious just at the thought of them.
If we visit a place Theo will more than likely in the first few minutes manage to hit or hurt another child. It's usually fighting over a toy, or a space on the climbing frame etc, or sometimes just a bit random. It makes me feel embarrassed to write that, but that's the reality of it. It makes me feel embarrassed because I know that I'm trying my hardest to make him not do it, but it keeps happening, over and over, every single day. I've lost count of how many times we've had to have pep talks before we enter a place, how I have to take him to one side and explain how we don't hit, to use his words, to wait his turn, to calm down, how we share and take turns. But it doesn't seem to work. I know at his age all these concepts are big things to understand, but I just hope that it will start to go in at some point. It makes me feel defeated, deflated and tired. And I'm not enjoying being his parent right now.
I feel awful writing that, but I see or hear people say "I feel so privileged to be his parent" "I feel so blessed he is in our life" "they're just a joy to be around and spend time with..." etc etc, I know I just don't feel like that at the moment. Of course, of course, I still love him, more than anything, and that won't change, but it is getting spread pretty thin at the moment. I feel as though we're not friends very much at the moment, that we're constantly battling and fighting against each other. I miss my little companion and I miss feeling that way towards my child.
Obviously there are moments when things aren't so tough, when we play games, have proper conversations, and he does play well with his friends. These moments make me feel proud, happy and a little calmer, and it makes me feel bad that he might just be labelled as a bad child when he is acing out, or if that is all that people see of him. Theo's not a bad child, or a horrible child at all, he just perhaps needs a little more guidance and understanding. He's incredibly bright, lively, curious and affectionate too but I guess these good points just get overshadowed by the not so good.
I've noticed recently, that because he's such a confident child he will happily run off into a new situation or place without first taking the time to survey the situation and think about what he wants to play with first, or where and what the other children may be doing. I feel like he gets overwhelmed by the choices, frustrated that he may not be able to go on or play with what he wants to straight away, and the easiest way to vent that frustration or feeling overwhelmed is to hit. If we've been at a place for a while, or he knows it well then he is a lot calmer and can play well, and can be incredibly kind and sharing with other children. I also know that he is testing his boundaries constantly, and with that testing them with me. I know it's all part of learning, and that one day, hopefully soon it'll all start to sink into place and we can leave this awful phase behind.
I know for us the next step is getting him into preschool, and one that is the right place for him. I know it will be hugely beneficial for the both of us, and will hopefully be a step in the right direction for him learning how to behave and act around other children. But more to come on that later!