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a reminder for moms with more than one child…
It was a normal weekday night in our house where we were getting the kids ready for bed. The routines start around 8:15 when Ayven gets out his pajamas, gets dressed, uses the bathroom, washes his face, brushes his teeth then waits for mommy or daddy in bed to read him a book. In the meantime I am getting my 1 year old ready with diaper changing, wiping him down, brushing his teeth, and reading his book. It’s like these kids know the routine with their eyes closed.
Well the other week I was getting Jayve ready and Ayven asked me to brush his teeth for just one day. The week before that he asked me to put on his pajamas for him just one day and the week before that he asked me to pick out his pajamas for him just one day. As a typical mom who is exhausted by 8:15 and so stuck in her routine I responded with the same answer every time. “Ayven you are old enough to do it yourself, you are a big boy now and you need to do big boy things. Mommy is busy with your brother because he is a baby.” My mind just wanted to get the kids to bed so I could have those few minutes of downtime.
Last week Ayven came up to me again and goes “Mommy just for today can you put on my pajamas?” My instant reaction as I have my 1 year old running all over the place with no diaper on was: “No Ayven, mommy is busy with Jayve you are a big boy.” I saw him walk away and of course in that minute I thought nothing of it. I finished getting Jayve ready for bed, put him to sleep then went over to Ayven’s room to read him his book. I walked in and he as he is halfway through his own book and he tells me that he will read his own book because he is supposed to be a big boy. Then I asked him why he doesn’t want mommy to read it to him because that’s his favorite part about going to bed. His answer crushed me. “You keep telling me to be a big boy because I am 4 now so I don’t need you to do anything anymore.”
It killed my heart.
Did I really let myself get so caught up in my routine busy life that I didn’t realize that my 4 year old will always be my baby too?
Did I just ignore the fact that he may have wanted to feel like a baby or at least that his mom was there to help him or even do those things for him once in a while?
My poor boy was crying for that little bit of attention and I didn’t even catch on to it because I let myself stop being present and focusing on what I had to do next. I always say kids grow up to fast and here I was being so hypocritical and expecting my 4 year old son to act like someone who can do it all all. I have my husband to sometimes remind me to take a step back if I need to with the kids or if I feel overwhelmed but I never thought my 4 year old could do the same.
No matter if Ayven is 4 or 30, he will always be may baby, just like my own mom still calls me her baby. I have decided to help Ayven with his nighttime routine once a a week and I can’t tell you what a difference it has made to him. That smile he gets on his face when I actually say “yes” when he asks to help brush his teeth is priceless. This means he is beginning to care about his dental hygiene, especially when it comes to visit a local dentist similar to Atlantis Dental in Framingham. He was so happy he told his dad that night that mommy helped him get ready for bed. I always promised myself that I would never give one child more attention than the other but I let myself get so caught up in what I needed to get done that I forgot to enjoy what I was doing at that time. A word of advice to all my moms out there:
Don’t get so caught up in your kids being so independent that you lose sight of them always being your baby. Learn to balance and do the little things for the older kids once in a while because that one small thing makes a huge difference to them. They will always be your baby.
Oh my goodness. I actually got a lump in my throat and teared up when I read what your son said. Poor boy and poor Mummy. It’s not easy but at least you figured it out and gave him what he needed…more than a lot of parents do so don’t beat yourself up.