I don't want this to be a diary of all things gloomy but lately I've been in complete emotional turmoil. After the flood (is that a song title?) everything felt surreal, displaced, and it's just added to my chronic homesickness, which I believe isn't homesickness anymore but this feeling that I need to put down roots somewhere, anywhere, but somewhere probably away from Brisbane. The cumulative tiredness from going back to work and squeezing more than I should into a day doesn't help either.
That aside, my main worry has been Ollie. At the end of last year, it felt as though we had turned a corner. 2010 was a difficult year for me - challenging I guess. Ollie's tantrums, bossiness, slow speech development and difficulties dealing with becoming a big brother all took their toll not just on him, but on me and his pa too. There were times when I felt like packing up and leaving, going home, going anywhere (and sometimes I still feel that way) just to get a break but really, what I want more than anything is for my little guy to be engaged, to look me in the eye, to answer me when I ask him a simple question and to smile when he sees me and say 'hi mama'. I know he can do it, he just won't.
So is it me? Is it the way I choose to interact with him? Or is it him? His age? His little brother... now that's a different story. I just have to make eye contact and he cracks a smile. He chuckles when he sees me, tries to wave and charges over for a hug on all fours, crawling at a pace you wouldn't imagine a 10 month old could achieve. What it makes me think is that maybe there is something about Ollie that I don't know. It pains me as his mother to write that, to think that I don't know everything there is to know about him. His delayed speech, his tendency to throw prolonged tantrums, his lack of attention but his ability to concentrate on his own task... all of these things overshadow his good days, when he seems to want to be around us, talk to us, show us his toys and books and isn't completely absorbed by music or the spoken word cds that he is so fond of. Some days he will hug and respond to anyone that walks in the door!
I see so many little people of his age who want to interact and spend time pleasing and imitating their parents and friends, yet I wouldn't say Ollie is one of them. I understand he's going to throw tantrums and needs to develop his emotional well being, but surely there needs to be a balance to that?
I'm not sure what I want to do about this. I think a big part of it is my parenting and utter lack of patience but I think there might be something more. Either way, I need to accept he's not that happy, communicative, bouncy child that I see so many mothers (including many of my closest friends) with. And, once I've stopped comparing him, I can start proactively doing something about it.