Learning to accept the child you are given

12 Mar

Normally I try to keep my posts light hearted and laced with humour, but today I wanted simply to write a very honest and personal piece about my journey with my son.

From the moment I was married over 6 years ago, I wanted kids. Don’t ask why, I’d always hated them up to that point, but family and friends were all doing it, hormones kicked in, blah blah… You can guess the rest. Cliche.

So, like every other young married couple, my husband and I began practicing in earnest and looked forward to this exciting next phase of our life together. But lady luck wasn’t on our side, and it took almost 3 more years and medical intervention before my boy was born.

When I was pregnant I was ecstatic, besotted and obsessed with the baby growing inside me. I couldn’t wait to meet this little man in person. At first sight I was enraptured by him, scared shitless not knowing what to do with him, but enraptured none the less. I imagined how our lives together would be, and the unique bond we would share.

But it didn’t quite turn out like that. No.

As a newborn, Oscar was often fidgety, difficult and rather than gazing at his dear nurturing mother, would look at anyone and anything else as soon as he could open his eyes. Early attempts at bonding were a disaster. Baby massage was anything but relaxing : whilst the other NCT mums and babes were enjoying the new experience, Oz was whinging, crying and wriggling, infact pretty much willing the whole thing to end. Looking back it was probably his undiagnosed dairy allergy causing much of this, but at the time it was agitating.

As a baby, Oscar was angry, frustrated and impatient. With every new milestone he always seemed dissatisfied that he couldn’t do more.  When he learnt to roll onto his tummy he seemed annoyed he couldn’t crawl, when he could crawl he wanted to stand, when he learnt to stand he wanted to walk, when he walked he was impatient to run.. Etc etc. nothing ever seemed quite enough for him.

By nine months old, Oscar hit toddlerhood. He had a temper and if I denied him anything or he couldn’t get something right immediately, he would throw the most monumental tantrums for anything upto 90 minutes. I remember when he was a year old, I refused him a banana because he had failed to eat any dinner. He was so angry, he screamed until he turned blue and passed out. Cold. THUD. Face down onto the wooden floor, head only saved by a pile of washing.  

He was also an acute attention seeker, and wanted my sole attention CONSTANTLY. No nice coffee mornings for me, no chatting to other mums while the kiddie winkles played nicely. No. I was to talk to and play with Oscar only, at all times. If I dared to talk to my own husband, the tantrums would start.

At two, the terrible twos kicked in tenfold. The throwing, the hitting, the pushing and the biting. Gone was the sociable child that all the other nursery kids would flock to, replaced instead with an antisocial boy who just wanted to play with “stuff” alone. At 2 and 3 months, Oscar was expelled from nursery for biting other children. Just 10 weeks later, he was expelled from his childminder for his excessive attention seeking.

I hit rock bottom. I was depressed, angry and lost. In hindsight, I could blame the caregivers for their inexperience in dealing with his behaviour and their unwillingness to work through it, but at the time I just felt shame. Deep shame and resentment that my child could do this to me. That the miracle boy I wanted so badly wasn’t who I thought he would be. And guilt. Overwhelming guilt that I felt like this and had failed as a parent.

And so began the worst period in our fractious relationship, with Oscar making an exhibition of himself at every opportunity and me, unnerved by recent events, over-reacting to his every move.

It took 8 months, two new wonderful childminders and a spell at pre-school before Oscar’s terrible two’s subsided and my confidence returned. The pressure and scrutiny I had inflicted on him and I was lifted, and I began to relax and accept the child I was given.

And now? 

Now I love him. Of course I always loved him. As his mum, I had no choice. But I didn’t often like him. I was embarrassed by his behaviour and disappointed that motherhood wasn’t what I had hoped for.

But now I just love him. Simple. Him and all of his quirks. Hell, he is impatient and stubborn and he doesn’t listen to me. Yes, he’s a fussy eater, an attention seeker and talks too much. For sure he prefers not to share with other kids, says poo too much and gets his Winky out at the most inappropriate moments. But I love that. I love that he is unique. I love that he does all these things because he’s smart, has character and doesn’t just fade into the background.

And you know what? I’m not so perfect myself. Sometimes I’m cranky at him for no reason, sometimes I don’t have the energy to play with him when I know I should, and sometimes I expect too much from him.

Do we fight everyday? Yes.

Could I sometimes wring his neck? Of course.

But above all else I feel proud of who he is. 

Proud and grateful.

Grateful because he is mine. And there is no better gift.

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4 Responses to “Learning to accept the child you are given”

  1. Maryse Fischer March 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Loved this, he seems like a really wild boy!

    • ferreroroche123 March 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

      Thanks for your comment. I think it’s fair to say he isn’t one to conform!

  2. Multi Layer Mummy March 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    that must have scared the petunias out of your when he passed out cold like that. A great honest post.

    • ferreroroche123 March 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      Thank you. It did indeed scare me witless. He never did it again.

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