…and I haven’t quite figured out if it’s a good thing or a bad thing as yet.
Ethan’s a real mummy’s boy. And a real softie! And we’ve allowed that. When he started crèche, I remember telling him that it’s okay to cry if he’s scared. There was none of that – toughen up, you’re a boy, boys don’t cry – nonsense. In fact, even until today, we’ve never told him that. We’ve allowed him to cry whenever he wants. I’m not talking crying for nonsense, naughty crying etc. I’m talking the crying that a person needs to do when they’re not feeling great, when they’re sad or when something’s upset them. And even now, at the tender age of 3 and 11months, mister still does that. I recall when we were in PE and Riley was crying in the middle of the night with a high fever, Ethan started crying because he was “sad that Riley is so sick”. At that moment, my heart poured over with love. I love the emotional side of him. I love that he can express his feelings! And I really do think he should even if it’s not what’s “normal” for a boy, but perhaps I’m wrong?!
Yesterday evening, Ethan was quite a bit of a brat. He got three smacks for doing silly things and post bath time, it was just screaming and reprimanding constantly as Ethan just didn’t want to listen. This child was giggling when I was telling him for the umpteenth time to do something…not interested, just doing his own thing! Then he did something that I specifically told him NOT to do. It was like he was on a completely different level to us. And so bedtime couldn’t have come sooner. We shipped him to his room at 7:30 and he got a stern talking to from the hubster about being a good boy and listening to us. I could hear this all while putting Riley down.
After Riley was sound asleep, I crept into Ethan’s bed to give him cuddles and make him feel a bit happier before going to bed. And I thought that would help. I thought the nonsense was over until 10minutes later, when we were already sitting down to eat dinner. Mister starts wailing like there’s no tomorrow. Now I knew that if the hubster went in, he’d probably just lose his patience. After all, it was bedtime and crying has become somewhat of a stalling tactic on nights when all.else.fails! So I quickly went into his room and when I asked him why he was crying…his response was…I’m sad because I was naughty. I could just hear in voice that he felt bad. And at that moment, I was torn between giving him a smack (8pm is MY time! Dealing with little boy problems like this is not part of my plan on any given night!!) and cuddling him and making it all better.
So I went with the latter…after I’d of course calmed him down…because nobody wants TWO children awake at 8 because of a crying threenager!! I hugged him, I told him that it was okay. I reminded him of how he’d been so good on the way from school, in the car, how he’d eaten dinner without a problem. I reminded him of how he’d played so nicely with Riley and how bathtime had been so much fun because he’d been so good (ok, for the first 2minutes but still). And then I told him how we know that he’s a growing boy and that there’d be times when he was naughty but that it was mum and dad’s job to teach him the right way and that’s why when he’s naughty, he gets a paddywhack.
I asked him whether mum had days when he thinks I’m crazy and I shout for nothing to which, of course, he replied YES to. I told him that mum also has days when she’s naughty – in fact we all do. But we try again the next day to be good again. And then I said a prayer with him to Jesus to make him a good boy. And just to put the final cherry on top, I told him how tomorrow night (tonight) we’d write a letter to Santa because Santa needs to know what to bring for good boys for Christmas. [As a side…I can soooooo see me milking this Santa thing at this time of year because we all know that Santa’s making a list and checking it twice to see who’s naughty or nice 😉 ].
And then I left the room and his little sniffles and the hubster and I resumed our dinner conversation. But it got me thinking and of course, we got talking about it – are we doing this raising thing wrong? Are we raising a softie and should we be making him more “tough”? The hubster, funny enough, had had the same conversation with work friends yesterday morning. I don’t think we came up with an answer. There are some days when I love my little softie and there are other days when I think that surely he needs to be more “tough” like little boys supposedly should…I don’t know, what do you think?!