Mac and cheese with a side order of guilt please

Over the last few weeks (okay, okay – the last few months) I’ve gotten into the bad habit of letting Cameron eat lunch in front of the TV. For some reason I decided today was the day to revert back to eating lunch at the table. What a disaster!

I was totally unprepared for the resistance I was faced with. I ended up eating alone while Cameron lay on the couch in floods of tears, alternatively asking for ‘Beebees’ (TV) and Bunny (the only thing in the world who understands him). The situation escalated far more quickly than I anticipated and I found myself in an unplanned battle of wills, having to stick to my point even though I wasn’t sure why I’d decided to make it in the first place. I’d told him he could watch TV after lunch so in the end I got him to eat three forkfuls at the table and then let him watch one show.

I’m still not sure who won.

I find these battles utterly draining, especially when they sneak up on me like this one did. Cameron moves on from them before the tear stains have even faded but I find the fallout much longer lasting. I know how important it is to stand my ground, but I often find myself having treacherous thoughts like, ‘I should have given him some warning that the routine was going to change.’ And today as I sit here devouring his uneaten mac and cheese (assuaging my guilt with carbs), I have to wonder if he’s fallen asleep hungry.

I find disciplining a toddler hard, hard, hard work. The frequency of ‘boundary battles’ is just discouraging at times. A perfectly happy morning can disintegrate into a war zone in seconds, and then swing back to a peace and tranquillity shortly after. (If I had to experience the level of emotion that Cameron does in the average day I would be an utterly exhausted wreck! I don’t know where kids get their stamina from.)

But I think the biggest problem is that these situations often leave me with a gnawing feeling of guilt over how I handled them. (Having the maid hovering at the doorway with accusing eyes while Cameron flings himself dramatically on the couch probably doesn’t help.) Mom-guilt is an insidious, evil beast, and as there’s never a right answer when it comes to parenting, it has ample opportunity to attack.

The worst part of it is that now I’ve started this process so for the next few days I will have to continue with my quest to have lunch at the table. Not a thought that encourages me. I think I’ll go find some chocolate now …

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Boy, oh boy!

At our most recent scan, the first image that greeted us was this one:

Capture

Despite the notorious difficulty most people have seeing anything on a sonar, this is quite obviously confirmation of the fact that we are indeed having another boy! As with so many things, finding out the gender of this baby has been a completely different experience.

I got it all so right the last time – I had an inkling that we were having a boy, but I didn’t let my imagination run away with me. This time round I completely messed up! I was utterly convinced that we were having a girl and my first reaction when seeing that little penis was ‘Are you sure?’ I will man up (excuse the pun) and admit that I was disappointed. My first thought when I left the doctor’s rooms was, ‘I’ll never be mother-of-the bride’ and I will confess to having a little cry when I got to the car.

At first, the idea of another boy was incredibly overwhelming. When we made the discovery Cameron was in his first real ‘defiance’ phase and I just thought, ‘Good gracious, there’s going to be two of them!’ Twice the energy, twice the dare-devil antics, twice the fearlessness. I also found myself struggling to imagine another boy as the concept of a little boy is so wrapped up in Cameron. I know this baby is going to be completely different, but just as I couldn’t imagine what Cameron was going to be like, I couldn’t imagine what another boy would be like either. But I have always been a tomboy at heart and it wasn’t long before I started to get really excited. Someone also said to us that while a pigeon pair is nice for the parents, siblings of the same sex often have a closer relationship, especially if they aren’t far apart in age. So please hear me loud and clear when I say that I am thrilled about having another boy. It’s going to be great!

Yet at the same time, a separate part of me had to come to terms with the fact that we aren’t having a girl. There is always the possibility of another baby, but both Colin and I feel that two is our number and therefore there was a bit of grieving to do. Simply put, there’s a vast array of mothering experiences that I just won’t have. In my haste to embrace this baby I initially pushed this knowledge aside and it caught up with me a few weeks later while I was having breakfast with a couple of friends. I suddenly found myself in floods of tears in the middle of the mall, blurting out incoherent statements, which, being women, my friends somehow understood!

The reality is though, all families are different and I have no idea what ours will look like in a few years time. For now I am appreciating the ways that having another a boy is making some things simpler (for example we have so much ‘boy stuff’ already) and am getting excited about meeting our new little man!