Yesterday, on the way to school, Big ran into the road in front of moving traffic. She did this because she wanted to be in front of her sister and because she wanted to get away from me explaining why she couldn’t always be in the front. She had no other thought other than to get to the front.
Big doesn’t do this as often as she used to but it is still terrifying. When we got to school I was still shaking. The teacher asked ‘Everything okay?’ and I responded, ‘Big decided to run into the road this morning.’ The teacher then said, “Oh well, I’m sure mum had some excellent advice about how to cross the road safely, in you come.’ And off they went. Not a backwards glance from either of them.
At hometime, I think I was publicly shamed about not being positive enough with my child. The teacher came out to show me a photo of Big with some work she had done. ‘I just wanted to come and show you this so that you could see how positively she’s doing. I wanted to be able to send some of this positivity home and keep all the positive stuff we have at school going.’
Now, I’m not doing great at the moment, things are tough so I could have imagined it all and maybe I was being sensitive. But it felt like she was saying ‘If you could just be a bit more positive with her, everything will be fine’ or ‘She’s doing so well at school, wouldn’t it be nice if you could recreate this at home.’
There were a million things I wanted to say but annoyingly when I’m angry I cry. And I didn’t want to cry in front of ALL the parents so I did a Big. I put a pretend smile on, I nodded and then I left. But I was angry. And upset.
Because on the whole I think I am quite positive. I kiss the top of her head every morning and say goodbye to her back. I pick her up everyday and give a smile and a touch and chatter all the way up the road about things as she says nothing to me in return. I keep going everyday and most days I can still crack a smile. I’m still able to empathise with other people. I help others.
A wonderful twitter friend described it as ‘normalising our lives’. And that’s what it felt like she was doing. If I just smile a bit more, tell her well done a bit more, get her to write CVC words on a whiteboard a bit more, everything will be absolutely fine. Some days I don’t help things. I get cross and I shout and I get upset. But most days I help. The way we are doing things as a family is helping. And I wish I could have said that yesterday.
And of course, because Big can’t cope with over the top, lavish amounts of praise, you can guess the kind of evening we had. Despite the fact that I smiled.
The best bits
We went away again this weekend. We kept everything the same, same places, same food, same toys and the girls did so well. They were both going down the slides on their own, putting their faces in the water and jumping in. It was good. My husband and I also took it in turns to have a go on one of the water slides. What a brilliant way to forget everything for a minute or two. Being on an outside waterslide in January will certainly give you a giggle. I can recommend it.
Little is learning about polar animals at the moment in nursery. She is absolutely bursting to tell us things when she comes back. They have made life size pictures of different penguins and then been measured against them. Little was most unhappy to discover that the ‘Emperor penguin was bigger than me’ ‘But I’m bigger than a Chinstrap penguin though. And a Macaroni one.’ I love seeing how interested she is in things. She’s asked for some penguins to play with in the tuff tray at home. And because she’s asked, that’s what we’ll do.