do you still love me tomorrow?

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to be honest, before Ollie went to school, I had no idea what school holidays meant. Afterall, we spent 24/7 together. We had playdates, we went out, we stayed home, we had naps.

After Ollie started school for that measly 3 hours…OMG. I have been exposed to having to only deal with one kid for 3 hours and that was it. No turning back. I started to dread school holidays cos that meant having to rack my brains for activities to do. But it also meant play dates resumed. I could deal with 1 week holidays, but I absolutely dread June and December holidays.

Of course, if we were going on a holiday, it was a different matter altogether. But we’re not. So there.

And as we would all have it, the one week hols are where things act up. Yep. Just before the school hols started, QT came down with a fever that wouldn’t go away. We headed to KKH when it peaked at 39.6 degrees. And we were back again when QT’s cough just got worse despite the meds. I was brought back to the time both Ollie and QT came down with pneumonia. Yikes, definitely didn’t want that, so off we went to KKH for a chest x-ray. That was Wednesday. Half the holidays were gone and I had spend the most of my time sitting on the sofa with a koala pinned on me.

*sigh* And Ollie was acting up as well, despite going out on play dates with family.

He wasn’t having an easy time. Neither were we. Donald and I subscribe to the gentle parenting approach and try as much not to yell. We are also human, and when we are tired, we are more prone to our frustrations and we flare up easily. It is not an easy journey. There were a lot of sit outs with him (he has a spot on the sofa where he has to sit on with us nearby talking to him). We would try to make him empathise with the situation and reflect about what had happened. After which, he would have to apologise and there were hugs all around.

It backfired. He wasn’t deliberately acting out, but he was selectively acting out. He refused to listen to instructions and wanted his way. That brought on more snapping. A reminder of what was discussed with him the day before. More snapping. We thought we were being patient with him, or rather I thought so. In reality, we were snapping much faster because we felt that he should have understood, especially when the previous episode was just..well, the day before.

Today, it got to a point where I thought I saw a tired and despondent boy. Even I was tired and I was close to giving it all up. I thought, let’s try this differently. 

Ollie, what can mummy & daddy do to make you listen to us? He stared at me blankly.

Are you sad? Why do you not want to listen to mummy & daddy? Do you want to try?

He shook his head. Why not? ‘Because you always scold me.’ My heart did break a little.

Do you feel that mummy & daddy don’t love you anymore? Because we keep scolding you? He nodded, for a long time, he looked at me straight in the eye, saying quietly, ‘Yes’.

Ahh, my heart broke some more. How could I not know how that felt? As a kid, I had that very same thought whenever I was yelled at by my mom. I had thought that by closing each yelling session with hug, kiss, I love yousdo you feel better now?, it was enough. But obviously it wasn’t. Actions speak louder than words.

I told him how proud I was of him, how happy I was during the times he helped out around the house, and when he listened. I told him to never doubt that we loved him, that despite the yelling, we love him. I told him that when he doesn’t listen, no one else has fun. No one gets to continue what we are doing because one person does not cooperate. That makes everyone upset. I told him just like he feels sad when he doesn’t get to listen to his CD in the car despite asking politely, we feel sad when he doesn’t listen to us. I told him that both Donald and I didn’t enjoy yelling, that all of us liked to be happy. I did most of the talking, but he had time to think about it and then respond to me.

Do you want to try listening? Shall we try? He looked at me apprehensively. We’ve been down this road before, ages ago, where both him and I agreed that we would try. And it worked for a bit. Shall we try, Ollie? Let’s try listening. 

‘Okay.’ He nodded. We had a hug & a kiss, and he scooted off to Donald.

Writing this now, do I feel like I failed my kid? Hell yeah. For him to even feel that we don’t love him, the last thing I would EVER want him to feel. It was just a 20 min chat, but it was a heavy-hearted 20 min chat.

Just a couple of days ago, Donald and I were talking about Ollie’s behaviour, and the fine line between reasons for his behaviour and finding an excuse for his behaviour. When does trying to understand your child become denial that the child is an absolute brat? Most of the time..well, yeah, there is a solid reason for the behaviour. But is there a thing as being too lenient to your child, and trying to amp up the discipline now?

Argh. So complex. But for now, let’s all just try. Okay?

Category: Daily, Parenting
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