Before I had kids I used to think I'd be an excellent mother with exceptionally well behaved children. Whenever I observed 'naughty' kids in public places I assessed the situation with ease and cast judgement like only an ignorant woman could.
Then I had my my own and isn't it just so true that pride comes before a fall - I fell fast and hard.
In the first months of being home with Zeph I really struggled with the demands of being his mother. Constant feeding, rocking, patting, singing and ssshhh-ing. It was full on. Then there was the crying. all. the. time. Crying when being held, crying when in the cot, crying when in the bouncer and so on. Of course there were LOTS of smiles and giggles and love but I do remember feeling overwhelmingly drained in every part of my being. I used to think that he cried because I was not adequately fulfilling his needs. If only I could rock him more rhythmically, sing more sweetly, have more patience or slow my own breath to match his. Then, maybe then, he would become a relaxed easy baby.
During this period I believed he 'acted out' because I didn't have the skills to parent him 'correctly'. When I heard people calling his behaviour aggressive I assumed it was because I had not been nurturing enough towards him. I questioned my own behaviour and concluded that his actions were a direct response to me as his mother.
As he has grown he has continued to be a loud, energetic, interactive individual. He likes to run fast, jump high, laugh loudly and talk constantly. He is turbo charged. And the longer that I have the privilege of being a mother to this amazing child I realise that he has an intense personality. He has since birth - the crying was not the result of some inadequacy on my part, nor was his behaviour necessarily 'aggressive' (although at times it was/is); he is spirited and will be for each and every day that he walks on God's earth.
Only now, I have found the courage (with the help of my beautiful friends, abundantly wise park mums and my own mother) to believe that he is who HE is, not who I have made him to be through a variety of errors. He is strong, independent, determined, sensitive, focused, engaged ... and a wee bit precocious.
As his third birthday is approaching and I still struggle to tame this wild child of ours, I remind myself that ... it's an impossible task... I shall guide him as best I can but above all I shall accept him for the creation that he is.