I have a love-annoyed relationship with Liam’s current 3-almost-turning-4 stage. I love how witty his comeback lines are, yet when he’s out to frustrate me, it’s unbearable to the point that it turns me into a meanie mummy. So the colleagues’ all say, whenever I re-enact my response to those episodes, complete with eyes rolling and furrowed brows.
There are days, especially on the weekends, when he never fails to push our buttons and test our patience to new limits. Just last Saturday, I saw how he got his papa all worked up one moment and disappointed the next by refusing to go into the water during swim class and later refusing to kick. I tried to make excuses for him by telling the husband that perhaps he had a new fear of water or that he was feeling cold from the strong winds that were blowing. But coach was right. Liam just didn’t feel like it! The husband was so mad with Liam that he kept giving him the stare throughout swim class despite our young man gazing at his papa for approval when he finally decided to cooperate and swim properly. I thought the husband overreacted a little with the stare down and pissed-off expression at our almost 4 year old, but on hindsight, I think Liam kind of asked for it. He even had the audacity to ask for a train ride after swim class on the pretext that it was because he swam so well! If you must know, I eventually gave in…
And then there are days when Liam makes me laugh and smile at the sillest and sweetest things. On Monday, after picking him up, I told him that I had to rush to another appointment and asked if we could take the taxi home instead as I needed to send him back quickly and be on my way. He reasoned, “Mummy ,but the train goes chug chugga really fast too, with no traffic lights!”. Damn, I couldn’t argue with that. And so I obliged my little train fanatic on his requested ride, only to regret it when the chatterbox couldn’t stop his train-related questions. Mid-way I asked if I could shorten the train ride and cab home instead, and this time he said “okay, just for you mummy.” I couldn’t believe that I had to negotiate and come to a compromise with my son!
Lately, there have been days when I find myself humbled by my son’s EQ. Today was one such day. I couldn’t knock off on time due to some work I needed to sort out and ended up having to rush frantically to pick Liam before his school “closed”. It felt utterly frustrating that I wasn’t able to grab a taxi or call for one because it was peak traffic hour, and when I finally managed to get a cab after queueing for some 15 minutes, my heart started to palpitate tensely seeing how close I was to the “deadline” and how bad the CBD jam was. It sucked that my only contingency plan – which was the husband – wasn’t available to help too.
When I finally got to Liam’s school, which was 1 minute shy of “school closure time”, I apologised profusely and explained why I was late. I expected my son to be upset that I wasn’t there at the time he requested, something he never fails to remind me about every morning before we part. Instead, he told me that another of his classmate was still waiting for his mum and that maybe we should wait for a bit so that his friend won’t be alone. I teared. Here I was, guilty about how disappointed my son would feel if I picked him up so late – honestly, I think I’m the one who couldn’t handle it – yet there he was, teaching me a lesson on empathy.
I love you so much baby. May you always stay kind, considerate, sweet and loving.