This week you turned twenty six months. I had planned to tell you about what a fantastic eater you are. Rarely fussy, happy to put away an almost adult-sized dinner, and ever eager to try new things. You’re a little gourmet: balsamic olives, Camembert cheese, and seaweed crackers all please your toddler palate. While you may have been a sleep-dodger for your first two years of life, I took heart that at least you were a good eater. But like all good chameleon toddlers, just when I think I’m getting the hang of this motherhood gig, you change the game plan. It’s only been a week and granted you have had some kind of bug but your food fussiness and outright refusal is already starting to grate. I feel for the mums and dads out there with consistently challenging eaters. My mothers instinct tells me it’s a phase. I’m hoping it’s a short one.
See the thing is I don’t want eating to become a battle of wills because, my child, you are one determined little soul. In the last few weeks we have been getting a bit tougher with you. Defining boundaries, drawing the line in the sand, manning the battlefield. That makes us sound super strict. We’re not. But the thing is you NEED those boundaries, those lines in the sand. And I know that but wow, the meltdowns, they are epic. And the screaming because you are not allowed to eat sultanas before dinner, it would be impressive if my ears weren’t close to bleeding. But you are learning, slowly, what behaviour is acceptable and what won’t be tolerated. Each one is a hard-won lesson. And you still push boundaries (and my buttons) a squillion times a day. It’s not all tears and timeouts though. Sometimes, even mid meltdown, you make us laugh. Like when you were told you couldn’t have any more coins to play with you stomped around the house yelling “I NEEEEEEED MONEY”. What exactly you needed it for will forever be a mystery.
Have I mentioned before what a resilient kid you are? Well, you are. Just as well because you fall over, a lot. And bump into things, a lot. You get your clumsiness from me I’m afraid. But you seem to be made of tough stuff, just like your dad. Whenever we find ourselves out in public I wait for the moment you sprint off, and the moment you trip, because you nearly always do. Often it will elicit sounds of empathy from onlookers, and a held breath from parents as they wait for the cry they are sure is coming. Mostly though, you pick yourself back up again, wipe dirty hands on your pants, and just keep on going wherever it was you were headed. And I feel immeasurably proud of you. Proud that you’re able to drag yourself out of the dirt and keep going. You are resilient and that will serve you well in life.
I’m so proud to call you my son.
You can find my other letters to Lachie here.