Monday, 10 February 2014

Ready or not....

As parents, we are designed to protect our young. It is the natural instinct that comes to us, generally (of course there’s the odd exception), from the moment our child is born. It is instinctual to protect them from harm and to love and nurture them. Of course, our own upbringing often comes into play with how we behave with our own children but the natural course is overall, to protect.

You are probably aware that Eddie and I never wanted to treat Olive any different to our other children, though it is actually inevitable that there will be differences anyway – as there are with each child you have, and their siblings. There are differences in how you parent your eldest and your youngest, your boy and your girl, your twins and your singleton and so on, whether we like it or not.

I’m not sure if it is the fact that Olive is my last baby, or because she has a difference, but I definitely feel super protective of her. In some ways, I am more relaxed in my parenting with her, (letting her climb things even though it gives me heart palpitations, or allowing her to have probably far too much chocolate!) but when it comes to trusting others with her care, I am not very good at letting go.

I let both my older two children cry it out in order to get them to learn to put themselves to sleep, instead of being fed or rocked to sleep. It was torture with Jaxon, and I remember crying on the phone to a friend while 8-month old Jaxon was crying in bed.

When Olive was younger, she would make herself throw up with the way she cried. If she wasn’t ready for bed, she would do this awful throat thing and make herself vomit throughout her bed. For us, letting her do this went completely against the grain of the Nurture side of parenting. So we didn’t let her do it. We let her get away with far too much – we still do! – And have learnt instead to read her signs, as opposed to us dictating when she goes to bed.

Jaxon started community kindy at 2.5 years old. Meisha was 7months old and whenever we dropped him off or picked him up, she would crawl around and play and paint as well. So when she turned two, it was her time to go off to kindy. They both thrived there and it gave them a lot of confidence with other people and in themselves.

With Olive nearing two, and being the social butterfly she is, we have been contemplating whether to enrol her. The kindy in question is not in our current area, we would have to drive across town but I know all the teachers and they know Olive from when she was born (Meisha was 4 years 8 months when Oli was born, so still at kindy for a short while).

Our issue though, is that there are not set age groups. With the 2 year olds are also 3 and 4 year olds. Which worries us because Olive is really active. She climbs, and runs and talks. Older children may mistake her for being more capable, and what if she fell and tore her nevus? We are always going to have this in the back of our minds, but we have decided right now, we are not ready. I think I will enrol her at the local kindy instead, which takes children at just over 3 years old.

So while we are not ready to let her go off into the big bad world on her own, we are ready for a bit more Nurturing. We feel it is a real responsibility as her parents to have an active role in the nevus community, as small as it is. Haley (Olive’s ‘same/same’ friend) and I are going to organise a New Zealand get together, and Eddie and I are going to try our best at getting our family to Australia for the January 2015 conference. It has been a goal of ours since Olive was born and we learnt about Nevus Support Australia and Nevus Outreach. But we always said we would not take her unless we could take the older kids as well, to avoid that ‘special treatment’.

So that is our 2014 goal. To get our family to Australia after Christmas this year.

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