11/52

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You fell in love with this police helmet at a friend’s house and hung on to it for the entire time we were there (and yes, we managed to find one on eBay, such was your obsession!).

A couple of days later you asked Daddy if it was time to put the pedals onto your running bike. Five minutes later you’d mastered it. That’s just how you roll, kiddo.

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We went back to the secret woods for our homeschool meet up for the first time in several weeks. You love it there. It’s as though all the things that are bothering you, or aggravate you, or set you off don’t exist for a few hours.

One of the best bits, for all of you, is when it’s time to start gathering to go home. You poke about with the burning embers, making ‘flame sticks’, before the fire is quenched with water from the stream.

See the other 52 Project contributors over at Practising Simplicity and Living Arrows

This week was a bit tricky. Nothing major or particularly out of the ordinary. It happens from time to time that Boy1 and I get into a bad cycle of bickering, falling out, taking things to the extreme. He feels persecuted, and blames me for siding with his little brother on every occasion. Although this isn’t the case, it must appear that way at times. They are like chalk and cheese in pretty much every respect and although they actually play brilliantly together for the vast majority of the time, they do fight. This usually involves a crazy amount of screeching, screaming and shouting by the bigger one. We are all lucky that he is not physically aggressive. Boy2 is a bit more ‘hands on’ but he is very often provoked and, at the end of the day, he is only 3.

I try to ignore the smaller incidents and let them attempt to work it out for themselves but it’s been all too explosive recently to simply stand by. Striking a balance between effective discipline and being mindful of Boy1’s incredibly sensitive nature is not easy. In the last week I have most definitely failed. He needs to have so much pointed out to him, how his behaviour makes other people feel, how he can be self-centred, and yet even with the kindest of explanations he feels victimised and wounded. He is so, so lovely, and yet so damned frustating as well.

And here’s the double whammy (and possibly one of the biggest reasons Boy1 feels victimised). Though it’s unfair to compare, Boy2 seems to roll with the punches, moves on quickly from upset, listens and actually understands the effect his words and actions have on others. At the tender age of 3 he is often found to be the peacemaker or the voice of reason. On the surface you might have him cast as the trouble-maker; he’s loud, stands his ground, knows what he wants. But for all of that he seems to get what’s going on. I think both my boys are exceptional, but in very different ways. What one has as a strength, the other has a weakness.

In an attempt to model the type of behaviour I want to see in my kids, I am having to work really hard, and eat more chocolate than is probably healthy. This parenting lark is pretty tough.

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