I had a horrible, horrible dream last night where I was in a park and was watching a family who were letting their baby ride on a helium balloon which was floating in the air. The dad in the family was very careful to keep hold of the balloon, the baby was happy and everyone was generally relaxed and having fun. Then after a while I heard shouting from that side of the park and I realised that they had let the balloon go, having put their older daughter into a basket under it to weigh it down, but she wasn't heavy enough. It was just an utter helpless despair seeing all of the adults in the park try to jump, hold each other up, climb things and yet be unable to reach this balloon which was floating off with their (happy and unaware) children in it and every second that went by it became more and more obvious that they weren't going to be saved. The balloon came down a little while later in a nearby wood and neither of them survived :(
I don't know if it was nudging me to be thankful for what I have but I have been feeling like that today and over the last few days. I've been struggling for the past few months, I won't lie – with parenthood and wrestling with guilt versus apathy. A lot of the time I have been feeling like I just don't enjoy my son's company at the moment and I feel like that is awful for him. But today and for the last few days I have started to enjoy it again. I have got annoyed and we have argued and I haven't always dealt with things in the best way, but I was able to let a slight bit of amusement sneak through the irritation when he was insisting on driving the trolley himself in the supermarket (with disastrous results) and suggest that maybe I could steer from the front if he propelled from the back, rather than just getting annoyed and snapping about it. And I told him I loved him when he was almost asleep and he smiled a little happy smile.
I don't think that the worst is over yet, this age (3-4) has really pushed and challenged me and I don't think that the stage is over. But I feel like I am finally starting to be able to cope with it rather than finding it so overwhelming all of the time. Which probably means I'm due a new seemingly insurmountable parenting challenge after this summer. (Can anyone say bilingualism in more than one language??)
Maybe this is why people have more than one child, so they can feel like they know what they're doing at least some of the time.