A friend of mine warned me about hitting. Max hitting me; not me hitting him.
In the past week, the hitting and throwing things at mama began. It's playful, not malicious, but hurts just the same especially when aimed at my head. We put him in timeout when he does it. Max protests and cries but, thankfully, still stays in the corner until we call him over to explain why we was put there in the first place. No hitting. He apologizes - sorry, mama - and goes back to play only to run back towards me arms ready to throw a toy at me a few minutes later... and the cycle of timeout starts again. It's sucks for all of us.
On the other hand, Max greets us with good morning, mama/daddy with a big smile when he wakes up and is quick to give us hugs and kisses throughout the day. He can play on his own and shares toys when playing with others. A few months ago, he finally started sleeping through the night consisently (I know!) and wakes up at a reasonable hour - around 6am instead of four - these days. He's happy, healthy and super sweet. Other than the apparently normal tantrums and hitting/throwing, Max is easy and, as a result, Fraser and I are fairly hands off.
Other than putting him in timeout when he's crossed a boundary, Max runs around, dances and plays freely. Early on, we made a choice not to run to Max whenever he ran into something or lost his balance. Fraser and I would acknowledge the incident, tell Max he was okay and watch him pick himself up; obviously, we scooped him up in our arms and helped him up when he actually hurt himself a bit or was completely surprised by a run in with a wall or fall. We're not heartless. Quite the opposite really. It took a lot of self control for me not to run to Max and comfort him every single time he lost his balance or got frustrated with something, but it was important for him to learn to self-soothe. To figure out the difference between a small physical/emotional discomfort and one that needed more attention.
Many times, Max has tripped and fallen while walking in front of me and a friend, who instinctively crouch down to help him the moment it happens while, after a quick assessment of the situation, I assure both Max and my friend that he's okay. I've been told a number of times that I'm such an easygoing mom, which I don't think is true but take as a huge compliment. It all comes down to our ultimate goal as parents: we want Max to leave.
You read that right.
When the time comes, we want Max to leave with the knowledge that he can properly take care of himself and can always come home if he needs to.
As a mother, I want to protect Max from everything because the world can be cruel, ugly and unforgiving. The best way for me - for us - to protect him is to give him the tools to deal with the world. To love him with all we have, teach him to appreciate people and the infinite beauty of the world while acknowledging that things will not always go his way. Yes. You are loved by many. No. You can't hit mama or throw things at her head. Yes. You have to share that. No. You are not allowed to have more than one piece of chocolate. Yes. Mama/daddy will be back.
The freedom to pursue my dreams and live my life, and my siblings are the best gifts my parents have ever and will ever give me. We are still not sure if Max will have a sibling (that's a blog post on its own); sibling or no sibling, Max will hopefully grow up confident, in touch with his feelings, strong, compassionate and with love and respect for other people and, more importantly, himself... Yes. We love and support you. Yes. Of course, you can! Yes. Mama wants you to stay with her forever. No. You can't actually do that.
Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing as a mother. There are days I feel like I'm not doing enough and days when it feels like everything I'm doing revolves around him. Both are true. It's different every day. The only thing that stays the same is the desire to raise a boy into a man who will make the world better than he found it.
For now, while that boy is happily in daycare, I'm finishing a cup of coffee, writing for a bit then working out before meeting a friend.