It's funny how mixed up a mother's feelings can be. When your child acts like a baby, you want him to grow up and behave like an adult. When your child decides to act like an adult, you feel sad and blubber, "My baby is growing up so fast!"
Osh Osh has been behaving very well lately. Last night, when DH was not home due to night duties, Osh Osh was very considerate. He helped me with chores such as folding his own clothes and pegging the clothes for me on the clothes rack. He also occupied himself (without any form of coercion from Mummy) with his writing exercises. He practised writing his numbers (made it all the way from 1 to 24) and his alphabets. We had a heart to heart talk at the dinner table about how to cope with his temper. I told him that whenever he feels angry about something or angry at Mummy and Daddy, he is to tell us that he is angry and give us the reasons for his anger. I explained that we will then understand him better and can talk about it. It wouldn't be helpful if he merely showed his angry face and shout or cry as it wouldn't make any sense to us.
He then shared with me that he doesn't like to see me and DH fight. He said if we fight, we are not "happy family". He told me that he really liked the restaurant we went to for lunch after church last Sunday. It's not due to the good food there but Osh Osh said it's because we were "happy family" at the restaurant. When we were at the restaurant, he said, "Mummy and Daddy did not fight. Mummy, Daddy and Osh Osh are happy so that is good "happy family"!" I didn't realise how affected Osh Osh was by all our fighting until last Sunday. Both DH and I were careless and selfish to have our fights in front of Osh Osh. We promised each other in front of Osh Osh that we will try not to fight and resolve our conflicts better. I told Osh Osh that there will still be many times that Mummy and Daddy don't agree with each other and that's normal. DH then told Osh Osh that "happy family" also means that he must behave well and not fuss and get angry all the time. He nodded in agreement.
I can see now how much it means for Osh Osh that we give him a "happy family" environment. He is very sensitive and caring in a lot of ways. Throughout yesterday evening, he kept asking me not to do this or that. He said, "I don't want you to be tired, Mummy. I will help." I also saw that Osh Osh is constantly seeking for recognition and praise each time he does something well and helpful. Unfortunately, it is so common for tired, stressed out parents to spew out harsh negative words than shower their children with positive, encouraging affirmations. This is an area that both DH and I have to be very conscious of and seek to improve.
This morning, we took the train to school. Osh Osh did not kick up a fuss in the crowded train although he was hot and sweaty after the long walk to the station. He carried his school bag for most of the way. I kept asking him to let me carry it for him as it is quite a big bag. He said, "No need, Mummy. I don't want you to be tired." I felt really bad. I guess my hysterical ranting of "I'm so tired of taking care of both of you (meaning DH and Osh Osh). Why can't you take care of yourself?!!" last week struck a chord in him. I suppose that is why he kept saying he doesn't want me to be tired. He didn't want to his Mummy to lose her sanity again and yell like a deranged psychopath! Sigh. I wish I could retract that moment of temporary insanity and erase it from Osh Osh's memory.
When we arrived at his school, some of his classmates were already there. He took his water bottle and snack box out of his bag and put them away at the designated area. At the same time, he greeted his teacher, "Good Morning, Teacher." He started to walk away when I called him back for a hug. He shook his head and said "It's ok." I wanted so much to hug him then but we finally compromised to have a handshake. I whispered "I love you" and he whispered it back and quickly walked off to sit down at the table with his friends. I walked away feeling sad. I felt that he's grown up overnight. Did he really lose his babyish ways so quickly? I know by looking at this objectively, it is a good thing that he is a well behaved little boy as he is already 4 years old. However, I can't help but feel that I drove him to this, to grow up quicker than other kids because I am so stretched. My outbursts of anguish and frustrations with the lack of time and rest are often lashed out without any refrain and more often than not, either DH or Osh Osh will bear the brunt of my fury.
Yes, I am a mother with mixed up feelings. Let's pray I get my act together sooner rather than later.