“It’s ok mummy, you were sleeping and you’re poorly, so I just got up and got breakfast.” said Reuben. “Erm…ok…” I said.
So last week Reuben turned 6, his brother had gastroenteritis, his sister then caught the gastroenteritis and both have had excruciatingly sore mouths and gums. To add insult to injury, it’s coming up to Mother’s Day so I am (thankfully – I will never NOT appreciate these amazing opportunities) swamped with work and I’ve picked up a rather grotty cold and thrown my neck out.
I know, the world’s smallest violins are playing a concerto for me. Stick with me here, this isn’t an average “woe is me” moan.
The above is Reuben’s reaction to me coming downstairs at 7am to find him in the living room, playing with his toys, with a used cereal bowl in the kitchen and a full glass of water sat on the side. Apparently, when you turn six, you’re suddenly old enough to adopt the “do it myself” mentality and… do it yourself. The problem is, I didn’t know whether to cry because I was so proud that a.) he came downstairs and managed to make himself a bowl of weetabix, grab a drink and didn’t wake anyone up OR cry because, well, no one warned me how I would feel when my little boy suddenly wasn’t quite so dependent. I mean, he’s six!
When I told Adam what had he had done, he offered up nothing more than a chuckle. A “ohhh bless him” but this felt like so much more to me. It’s the start of having a bigger boy, a more grown up boy. One who still needs reminding it’s time to get dressed and when to put shoes on, one who still needs help with his reading and the such, but a child who is losing the “baby” by the day. A child who is developing and growing, somewhat past what I had mentally prepared for. Six is still so tiny.
Roo has started asking for “me time” and “my own space” too – something that is incredibly difficult to offer him when he shares a room with his brother and their are six people in our home. It’s not easy to explain to his four year old brother that he can’t head on up to his own bedroom because his older brother just wants to play alone with his toys and moving is really out of he question at the moment. The phrase “Reuben wants to be alone” translates to Toby as “Reuben doesn’t like you” and in itself it poses a whole tonne of problems. We’ve recently added a great cosy armchair to our hallway, with a blanket draped across the arm for snuggling up and reading – I’ve always fancied a reading nook – yet it turns out Reuben has adopted this spot as HIS spot, his place to go and know that he will be undisturbed and allowed to sit with his kindle in peace. So far, so good – though his siblings still want to mither him to a degree, Roo seems to feel that this is a safe place for him to say “I don’t want to play” and the others accept that.
It is always a surprise to me when these undiscovered areas of parenting pop up. I guess you think when you have three that very little will catch you unawares, but rest assured it does. Often! Having an independent child is both a blessing and a curse, but ultimately I think it will be a bonus for Reuben in later life to be able to enjoy his own company and just chill!