We each spent some time reflecting on our day and listening to it from a different perspective. I would love to say we do this every night, but we don't! We often discuss particular events but we rarely talk about our entire day as we did tonight.
Lily came to tell me that she'd let the cat out, locked all the doors, turned off all the lights and folded up her clothes. I must have had the most dramatic change in demeanor because suddenly Lily was beside herself with joy! The feeling that engulfed me when she listed all the things she had just done (as well as being in her pajama's and having brushed her teeth) was one of utter love. I felt cared for, loved, heard and appreciated all at once.
Lily had done all of those jobs, in her own words, "Because I am getting older now and I need to learn to look after myself more." without any prompting at all from me.
My children are asked to help when needed, but are rarely required to do something for me when I ask (under threat or bribe). Lily has simply observed me and listened to my questions if she comes upstairs after I do, and learnt what jobs must be done before coming up to go to bed.
Of course she has!
In my deepest, most secure place I know my children are learning these things all the time, but at a shallower level, I still shit myself regularly that I'm doing this mum thing all wrong!
As Lily and I were talking, we discussed something that had happened when we had guests over this afternoon. Lily, plus 3 other children including Dominik, had been playing on the trampoline when Dominik pushed Lily and she fell into another child.
Lily hit her mouth and a massive meltdown ensued. She screamed at the top of her voice and listeners would have thought she was dying! Dominik simply climbed off the trampoline and said quietly that he was going inside.
I calmly tried to reassure Lily that she was ok and that she could have anything she needed to help her calm down. She was insistent that Dominik had hurt her lip on purpose. She did not comprehend that it was an accident. She assigned blame for her poorly mouth to the push from Dominik. She was inconsolable. :-(
When we talked about this before bed tonight, Lily said that she had acted childishly and that she was sorry for screaming. We decided to risk disturbing Dominik to tell him that we were both very proud of him, that we loved him and that Lily was sorry.
We first checked that all the doors were indeed locked (!), and then knocked on his door. He said we could come in and Lily, calmly and kindly, said she was sorry for what she did and that she knew he did not do it on purpose. He was visibly relieved and thanked Lily for coming to tell him.
Dominik interacted with two young men today, neither of whom are associated with particularly positive memories, and he did it amazingly well. I am so proud. He has had an abnormal sleep pattern again recently and has been really struggling to live with us all (and vice versa) but, the effort he has put in is paying off. I think he has realised, for the time being at least, that he does enjoy life when we spend more time together and that he can exercise some self control if he is able to pay attention.
Lily also played hostess today and loved it! She asked more than once if everyone was having a nice time (asking for a show of hands!), put food on plates and brought almost everything outside, all by herself. She was so proud to have been a help. It was amazing.
Hannon played happily with both of our visitors and didn't eat all the pizza before anyone else had had some! :-D He was also an amazing host. Polite, friendly and fun.
Harriet, and my lovely friend who babysat for me today (hey Sharon!), looked to have had an amazing time together too judging from the pictures! Harriet had looked forward to Sharon and Pepsi arriving all day so was quite happy for me to toddle off to my roller derby course without so much as a backwards glance!
Today I was so blessed.
Good friends. Lovely food. Fresh air. Roller skates. Love. Gratitude. Understanding. Learning. Happiness.
I'm pretty sure I could not ask for more.
Hope you all have a blessed week
PS - UPDATE - Dominik has made some huge developmental leaps as a result of his brushing and movement therapy. For the first time ever he is becoming self-aware. The egocentricity, notable during toddler hood, is finally abating. He is starting to see that he is a part of a system and not alone in this place. He is taking better care of his immediate environment and is being more considerate than I had ever dared to hope for.
Small steps. Kind words. Patience.
Baby-wearing (28months, so not really a baby anymore!) my way through painting my garden furniture and cutting the grass!