T has always been far more challenging than A ever was at the same age. People say things that are supposed to be helpful, things like 'boys will be boys', but I don't buy it. It's been an isolating experience, watching him hit his friends, or run into the path of an ongoing car, or throw his head into my face splitting my lip, or bite his brother, or just leave a trail of destruction wherever he goes. Yes, there are reasons for this behaviour but they aren't so severe that I can excuse his actions or explain them away.
Last month, when we were in France we began to notice the change. The year before in the same holiday home, T spent all week falling off chairs, removing every item from every cupboard, and charging his way through every obstacle in his path. This year was different; still not plain sailing, but it wasn't quite as hard. Noticeably. Last week he turned three, graduated nursery, and came home to us to spend the summer with his brother, his parents, and his grandparents.
A while back, Fran wrote about how her 3-year-old had turned a corner, no longer hurtling about like a Hex-bug, careering about in a dangerous fashion. I left a comment asking what the secret was, as if I could influence the natural course of parenting in some way. Foolish, I know, as if that's ever worked before (when we dreamt of some miracle to cure the bad sleep in those early weeks and months). But I held out, hoping that the same would be true in this house. And what do you know? I think it might be.
When we look back over the past two years I feel a sense of sadness at the desperation we felt on occasions. The embarrassment. The humiliation. The loneliness of having to carry out a threat and take your child home because of some misdemeanour. But also the hopelessness we felt at times, the depression, the rejection. It's so hard to think of those dark times, but think of them we must as without them we can't see how far we've come.
3. It's taken a while to get here. Things are looking up.