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Special Time

Last week was intense. Hardcore. Challenging. Full-on. Exhausting. You get my drift… But it took me until Friday to figure out what was wrong.

Perhaps this is not that surprising, seeing as life in general is intense at the moment (it’s just a season, I tell myself – and Mark. One day is one day!) But last week was particularly challenging – and not only because we were chronically underslept, although that didn’t help.

What clued me up to something being seriously wrong was when a play date that should have been an absolute joy turned into a scene from a horror movie (only slightly exaggerating, I promise). We had two of Arthur’s best friends over to eat pasta and watch Peppa Pig. Heaven on a plate, right? Wrong!

My usually chilled and very-good-at-sharing little boy lost his shizzo. Repeatedly. About everything. Some of it was vaguely based in reality – yes, it is difficult to share your toys when you have a bit of a cold and you’re feeling under the weather. Some of it was not. At all. Like crying when he asked me to take the Froot Loops out of his Rice Krispie treat, and I did. (Yes! There were treats and he still wasn’t happy!)

But what I realised on Friday – through a combination of texting friends in desperation, Google and asking my nanny who asked her friends (it takes a village) – is that my poor boy just needed some dedicated one-on-one time with me.

The poor poppet! Despite having read the books and the blogs and being very aware of this as an obvious side-effect of having a second child, it took me a whole work week to realise that he was acting out to get my attention, because any attention is better than divided attention. Apparently.

In my defense, I feel like he gets heaps and heaps of attention all day long – from me and Mark (and his baby sister!) But time with me and the baby is not the same as time with me alone. And he used to get time with me alone all. day. long. She is also suddenly cuter, and getting her own attention, which he’s obviously noticing.

So as of today, when I pick him up from play school and bring him home, I don’t sit with him and Ella and chitchat and unwind (heavens no!) before taking her for a milk feed and handing him to our nanny for a nap. Now I come straight in, say a quick hello to Ella and take Arthur to his room for Special Time. Just me and Arty. Reading three books together every day. It takes half an hour but feels like such a treat, for both of us. And then he’s  happy to go to his nanny and have a nap while I feed the baby. Well, he was happy today and that feels like a huge success in comparison to every day last week.

What’s that? Doesn’t it feel like more on my plate? Why yes, yes it does! Does it totally burn that the solution is more of me and less of others? Why yes, yes it does! Is it still extremely precious on some level and will I miss it one day? Yes, yes I will…

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