Pudding is a child who was born knowing her own mind, and just waiting for her body to cooperate with its orders. She has some real struggles with her motor coordination, but I know one thing about her- if she can do something, she will do it. She was born independent.
Sometimes I have to persuade her that she needs help. I have to wait patiently as she struggles until I’m allowed to assist. If you’ve read anything I’ve written before, you know that patience is a work in progress for me. Somehow we get by, and her fierce determination means she gets to be just as independent as she wants to be.
Cubby, on the other hand, has never been one for independence. This kid loved being the baby, and was quite content to remain that way. Whereas Pudding’s limitations are hurdles, Cubby’s are more like barriers. He has always needed some persuasion to move forward.
But things are changing. Earlier this year he decided he was ready for toilet-training, and that was that. He is starting to dress himself, and get better about feeding himself. As all the skills he has been learning in occupational therapy start to come together, he is finding he actually has a use for them.
And then Pudding- always one to go it alone- has become more clingy. She began refusing to go upstairs or downstairs without me. Then asking me to go with her to the bathroom. Other times she doesn’t need me at all.
Sunday was Mother’s Day in South Africa, but Cubby let me know that tough guys don’t do cuddles. Later that morning it became evident that tough guys do still scream and pound on the bathroom door if their mummy needs a shower.
Both kids seem to be in an ongoing battle, and I suppose that is this thing we called childhood, mixed with a dash of disability. And I’m in this ongoing battle between holding back and offering support. I suppose that would be motherhood, mixed with a dash of disability. Somehow we muddle through together.
Last night I tucked Cubby into bed in his new flannel sheets (we’re moving into winter here). They were so soft and cuddly, he told me he didn’t need me any more!
And so, as we muddle through these Independence Days, I find I’m not needed in the same way, or as much as I’m used to. I need to adjust too. But on those days when I still need to be needed, I just sit at the computer and try to write a blog post.
It works every time!