In which I'm enjoying the kids (Part 2 of 2)
As a parent, I've experienced many highs and lows when it comes to raising my kids. The lows leave me exhausted; feeling like a constant failure and wondering why on earth I had kids in the first place. The highs are such a reward, that I almost forget what little terrors they are 90% of the time! Almost...
As much as I moan about the kids (and God, did I moan in the last post), they do lots of things to make me proud. And it's the unexpected things that they do which touch me the most. Like, when I walk into the living room to find them surprisingly cuddling; the Daughter rubbing her Brother's ear absentmindedly, while they lay back and watch cartoons together. I almost feel guilty for ever doubting them, but it's just so abnormally quiet, and quietness usually means they're up to no good. Yesterday, I was busy typing up a post, making the most of the peace whilst the Son was in the bath; the Daughter asked if I'd like her to get him out and dried, so that I could carry on with what I'm doing. Almost unheard of! Sometimes, when they're playing schools together, the Son will actually volunteer himself, even though she never lets him play at being the teacher.
Then, there are the times when I watch them receive an award in Celebration Assembly at School. The Husband is with me, poised with the camera on his phone, while I try to keep my bottom lip from wobbling at the sight of my little darlings standing at the front of the hall with the Headmaster, listening to their class teacher gush about their brilliant use of grammar, or having finally mastered the rules of subtraction. I'll never forget when the Son wrote a ridiculously long story in Reception class, and all the pupils, parents and teacher's gasped when his teacher opened up his workbook to show them how much he'd written. I think that was one of the best moments of my life!
Both the kids are quite shy, and it takes a lot for them to confidentially share their ideas with the class. When the Daughter was presented with an award in one of these assemblies, the Husband and I almost laughed out loud at the irony of the Daughter looking at the floor, chewing on her nails and virtually hiding behind the Headmaster, whilst her teacher presented her with a certificate for overcoming timidity.
I love the innocence of children's questions, and the conclusions they come to when they don't understand something fully. I adore reading them a story at night, just before bed. No matter how many arguments there have been that day, we always go to bed on a good note. I smile at the way they fight over who's going to sit next to me on the sofa, although it can get tiresome at times. My heart melts when they're upset, but they've managed to hold it in all day, and the minute they see me, they burst into tears at the relief of finally being able to unload.
I remember one evening, the Son was particularly quiet, and we thought he was coming down with something. After being in bed for about an hour, he appears at the bottom of the stairs with tears in his eyes. "What's the matter?" I ask him. He shakes his head, unwilling to speak, but the tears are flowing freely. After some gentle persuasion, he finally relents and unburdens himself. "I broke a pencil in class today, and instead of telling Miss, I just put it back in the pot again" he wails inconsolably. I have to muffle a laugh against my sleeve. I managed to console him after about fifteen minutes. He's sitting on my lap, wiping his snotty nose on the hem of my dress. I explain that the teacher won't be mad. Everyone has accidents and so long as you tell the truth, everything will be ok. My heart swelled at his obvious remorse. So often I feel like I'm failing as a parent, but it's moments like those, when they show real human decency and emotion, that make me realise I must be doing a half decent job after all...
UPDATE: Since writing this post, the Son did something so cute, I feel I must share it with you. The kids still aren't back at school yet, but there was a message in the P.T.A. Facebook group, saying that the children could select a present for Father's Day, and the school would wrap them, ready for us to collect. On my way to the Post Office yesterday, I stopped at one of the Teaching Assistant's houses to pick up the presents. When I returned home, the kids met me at the front door, and I sent them off with their wrapped presents, instructing them to hide them somewhere, ready for the Big Day. The next morning, the Husband opened his underwear drawer to retrieve some socks, and came to me saying "Clare, what's that present in my drawer?" I laughed. For some unknown reason, the Son thought that the safest place, where Daddy wouldn't find it, was Daddy's own underwear drawer. Maybe he thinks that his dad doesn't change his underwear very often? I just couldn't understand the logic behind his actions. When I asked the Son this morning, he blushed furiously and denied all knowledge of this happening...
If you missed Part 1: In which I wish the kids were older, you can read it here.
What do your kids do to make you proud? Leave a comment below.
If you enjoyed this post, please share it using the link icon and don't forget to subscribe to the website for free, to ensure you never miss a new post.