There are many words to describe life with a boisterous two year old. On good days it’s wonderful, joyous, the best. On tough days it’s challenging, exhausting, infuriating. Sometimes I feel like it’s only my two year old that doesn’t sit still for a second. Only my two year old who could find something to climb onto and jump off of in a padded cell. Only my two year old who could exit that padded cell mysteriously covered in dirt. When we’re out and about I sometimes imagine what all the other parents must be thinking about Pickles, and about me as the mother of “that kid”. Sometimes I just need a fresh perspective.
This morning when we got to playgroup there was a new little boy, a few months younger than Pickles, sitting with his mum. Pickles ran straight over to the playgroup teacher who was sitting nearby and gave her a big hug. She told me that she’d seen the new family at the park and told them to come along. The little boy was quite shy and at home was learning Mandarin as a first language. She introduced him to Pickles, who had been listening intently to what she had been saying. And then it was on. Pickles ran across the playground to the back corner of the yard to show him the best hiding spot behind the shed. He took him into the cubby house and taught him how to drag the chairs to the window to climb up on and look out. Then he raced over to the sandpit and showed him how to dig up the sand.
By this stage I was a bit mortified. I thought the little boy’s mother must be horrified that Pickles had been chosen as the one to show her son around. She was probably looking at the other children colouring, or playing with dolls, or rolling play dough and wondering why it had to be the kid who would teach him all the most dirty and dangerous things to do. The little boy went over to his mother, said something, and pointed at Pickles. Then the mother came over to me. I steeled myself. She smiled and said “He called your son …” I missed the word. I thought he’d just gotten his name wrong so I half-laughed but she shook her head. “It means big brother in Mandarin. He called your son big brother.” Suddenly, through someone else’s eyes, it was clear why the teacher would choose him to help. She had made an excellent choice and he had done her proud. I just wished I’d seen it straight away.
So I have a new resolution to ensure that it doesn’t take someone else to show me the best in my kids. That’s my job and I’ll look for it every day. Especially the tough days.