Be Careful What You Wish For!

Monday, July 14, 2008

When my son was born, 6 years ago, I knew that I would have more children, so I kept thinking of how I could try to be fair to them all. I now realize that this was a foolhardy pursuit, but at the time, that was my thinking. I tried not to sign him up for too many things, or felt guilty doing it, knowing his younger siblings would never have the same luxury, due to time, logistics or money. I also encouraged him to play on his own, to the point that he would play by himself for 45 minutes at a time sometimes, when he was just 8 or 9 months old!

As our family grew, I didn't have as much time for Mr. Boy, or Sweet Pea, in turn. The youngest child always seems to need the most attention. Precious gets a lot of my time now. In fact, yesterday, Mr. Boy and Sweet Pea played together for the whole afternoon without needing adult intervention.

At one point, DH was looking at the two of them playing together, and Mr. Boy looked up and said "Stop looking at me". I've noticed that I have to ask Mr. Boy for a kiss now, rather than be offered one, and Mr. Boy would much rather play with his friends or his sister than with me. Most of the time that is. I still get to have my snuggly little boy from time to time, but it is on his schedule, not mine.

After years of trying to encourage this independence in my children, I am starting to regret it, just the tiniest bit. I think they're turning out great, but they don't need me as much as they used to. On the one hand, it was overwhelming at times, but now I'm starting to feel nostalgia for the affection I used to get, as well as their perception of me as perfect. They are being influenced by so many other adults now, they are rightly starting to question my authority. Plus, there has been more than one occasion where my answer has been "Let's go look that up together." I definitely don't have all of the answers.

When I'm too busy or distracted to spend time with the kids, I'll try to remember that they probably won't want to spend time with me forever. It's starting already and I'm sure it will get much worse when they're teenagers. I want to cherish the daily interactions that I love so much.


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