Now that I’ve had almost 8 years of practice as a parent, I am learning more and more to listen to and trust that inner voice, my motherly instincts.
With my first born, it was harder to trust it. It was harder to believe that I was not just being paranoid or overprotective, but as the years have passed I’ve slowly learnt that every single time, that little voice has been right.
We’ve been having a bit of a rough time in our little household recently. My sweet little toddler had suddenly become a monster. A crying, whining and tantrum throwing monster. When he wasn’t doing that he would isolate himself and not want to speak much at all. Or, if not that then he would be super aggressive toward anyone who dared cross his path.
A part of me thought, oh its just the terrible three’s. Have you heard? Everyone says that nowadays three is worse than two. To be honest, I don’t really remember from my first round of parenting. It’s weird how that happens. After your first child you sort of forget all the ‘bad’ things. I suppose it’s natures way of protecting the human race. Otherwise we wouldn’t have had a second child. Haha jokes (maybe).
…but there was also a niggly part of me saying ‘this isn’t normal‘. That niggly little b*tch started off as a quiet voice, but as the weeks and months passed she got louder and louder. You see, it all started in January, when L had been moved to a new class. The little voice told me that this may not be the best idea. L is still really emotionally immature (which is weird because he’s three, he’s not supposed to be emotionally mature, but you know what I mean). He’s really babyish and insecure. He loves to be cuddled and picked up constantly. As his mother I’m overjoyed at this obviously because I want more cuddles and kisses. With S being nearly 8 years old, I’ve seen how they tend to give less cuddles and kisses so while I still have the chance I’m taking all the cuddles and kisses I can get from L.
Of course in a school setting where there are 15 other needy 3-4 year olds I can’t expect the teacher to give my child the attention that I do. It’s just not possible.
…so slowly, after the move to the new class, Master L’s mood and demeanor changed and slowly the voice in my head got louder and louder. She was telling me that something was just not right. She told me that my child wasn’t happy. She told me that perhaps this school wasn’t a good fit for him any longer.
But then, the other voice in my head (I promise, I don’t suffer from any personality disorder. These voices are real) said that it’s not a good idea to chop and change schools. It’s traumatic for a child. Having to adapt to another new environment with new teachers and children who are, in essence, strangers could really damage him emotionally. I listened to this voice for months. She seemed more rational, not as emotional as the other one.
As the months passed L just got worse and worse. In June I kept him home with me during the school holiday for three weeks and I saw the old L emerging. The happy, carefree child I used to know. That’s when I realized the little voice in my head was right all along. My motherly instincts were right.
You see, there was nothing wrong with the school. In actual fact it’s a fantastic school and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a crèche. BUT, it wasn’t a good fit for my child. I’ve come to realize over the years that when they say all children are different, it’s true. They really are all different and as a result they don’t all fit into one pretty box. They don’t all do well in the same situations and environments. My first born would have been perfectly fine at this school, but L is not like him. They’re different children and that’s fine. In fact, that’s fantastic. I wouldn’t want them to be the same.
In the end, we decided to move him to a different school. Believe me, this was not a decision that I took lightly. My intention was never to move my child from pillar to post. The new school is not as spacious as the old one, or as neat and spotless, but it has smaller classes, more individual attention, more baby-ing, less structure and more freedom.
He’s been there for a month and he’s a different child. He’s happy. He’s carefree. He doesn’t cry when I drop him off. He chats ten-to-a-dozen in the car on the way home in the afternoon and he’s just back to being him.
So if there’s anything that I’ve learnt from this experience, it’s to finally listen to that voice. To stop doubting it and ignoring it. A mothers instinct is a real thing.