The Super Whites The ordinary life of a Super Mum

The Super Whites
My first born – Amy at 3 years 10 months

I interrupt the recently scheduled holiday recap for a post about my eldest daughter. I need to talk about Amy because this child has been a complete mystery to me over the last few weeks. Before we left for WA we were having a really hard time with Amy. All the small things that we had taken forgranted for a while now had suddenly become a problem again. Our house was a battlezone and I was starting to retreat. Shoes and socks were a daily struggle complete with hysterical crying and throwing things. She needed me to be with her every moment of the day, watching her on the toilet, standing next to her in the kitchen, sitting on top of me in the living room. Then Amy started to cry when we left her at preschool.

This was not completely unexpected because people had been saying since she started that it would happen at some point but I must admit I was suprised that it had taken this long. Amy has been going to preschool for two full days a week since January and now suddenly in May she starts crying when we leave. The first time it happened I didn’t even know until I came to pick her up and her teacher said that in the morning she had been sitting in the sandpit and then suddenly she heard a crying she didn’t recognise and it turned out to be Amy saying she missed her Mummy and Daddy. The next morning Amy started to cry before I had left and she quickly became very upset. I handed her over to her teacher for a cuddle and when I called a little later to see how she was they assured me that the crying had lasted for a minute, no more and that Amy was happily running around playing like always.

It got me thinking thought, something was going on. Combine the preschool drop-off crying with the clinginess, the refusual to do normal tasks on her own without assistance, her night wakings with crying for me, there was no doubt that Amy was in a developmental growth stage. The hard thing is knowing how to handle it. Its one of the big ironies of parenting that when your children are being their most revolting is often when they need you the most. Amy’s anger, crying, lack of patience and general moodiness were all showing me that I needed to get closer to her, spend more time with her, talk to her about how she was feeling. It felt quite overwhelming because I confess that most of the time I just wanted her to go away. Sigh. I had a cry on the phone to my Mum a few days before we left for Perth, I was so afraid our holiday was going to be ruined by an unruly preschooler.
As it turned out all we needed was a family holiday, for all sorts of reasons but mainly because I was able to spend lots of time with Amy having fun and doing things we wouldn’t usually be doing. It was fantastic having Ron around constantly to share the parenting and although there were still some rather spectacular meltdowns on Amy’s behalf, they were fewer and further between than before we had left. It was still a struggle and there was a little bit of that feeling that we were living with a timebomb, but overall Amy behaved well and was fun to be around while we were away.

Now that we are back she has settled down again, although there are still some battles being fought. Why do socks and shoes have to be so torturous? Its winter, its cold, you have to wear socks and shoes, simple. Or not so simple as we fight over which socks and which shoes. Amy was sad to leave our holiday and the goodbyes with my Mum and Dad were heartwrenching, hysterical sobs and plaintive crys of “goodbye Packet, goodbye Gogga” very sad but she was very happy to be home in our house and with all of our things. I think some of the anxiety prior to going away had been anticipation of leaving our house and travelling somewhere new. The last time we told her we were going for a holiday we went to South Africa for nearly 6 weeks which  is a lifetime to be away from the familiar when you are only three and a half years old.

So the balance is restored to our household and once again Amy is the sweet, caring, loving delight she has been for a while. She is quick to tell us she loves us and she is working on her comic timing with her knock-knock jokes. She is full of questions about everything and interested in how things work and why things are the way they are. She is empathetic and concerned about her friends, excited about turning four and having a birthday party and she loves her baby sister even though Stella continues to be more and more of a pest now that she is walking everywhere and climbing on everything. Poor Amy has to eat her meals standing at her table because her chairs have been shut in the spare room to save Stella from pushing them up against the counters and climbing. She is a menace, into everything, loves pushing buttons, thinks the bathroom is her own adventure playground and as stubborn as her father. Amy in contrast is suddenly easy again, independant and able to ask for things when she needs them and to tell us how she is feeling. Both girls are sleeping well and as a result I have loads of energy and enthusiasm again. All is well in the White household!

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