“Mummy, my life has really changed.”
It was after dinner, a few nights ago, when Hunter said he needed to poop. OK. So he went into the bathroom while I was hovering just outside tidying stuff up. Then his little voice piped up,
“Mummy, I really have to talk to you. I need to tell you something *important*.”
I was a bit surprised, as Hunter is not the ‘sensitive soul’ type (or rather, he doesn’t often discuss his feelings or want to have 1:1 chats with me), so I went into the bathroom and sat on the floor in front of him.
“Mummy, I don’t know how to say this to you… but… my life has really changed.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, kind of confused.
“Ever since Chloe was born, everything has changed. It’s so different now. I don’t have your attention anymore. Or Daddy’s. You guys are always so busy with her. And, like, I’ll be pooping and you’ll leave halfway because you need to look after her.”
He looked really troubled, and continued, “Before it was just you guys and me and Carter. And we hung out lots and played together. Now, it’s just so… different.”
I was GOBSMACKED.
He’s never articulated his feelings about anything before, and certainly not to this magnitude. And considering he fawns over Chloe – constantly – I had not noticed that HE had noticed our family dynamics had changed. And because he had articulated it so well, and the words came tumbling out like he’d rehearsed it several times before, I immediately wondered if someone had put these thoughts/words into his head.
So I asked, “Did you talk to someone about this? A teacher?”
“No”, he answered. “Just God.”
Not quite convinced, I asked him again, and again he replied, “Just God. And God told me to talk to you about it.”
So I apologised. And I told him that, YES, things are different and I’m glad he could recognise and acknowledge it. Then I told him that when he was a baby, we spent tons of time/attention on him. And when Carter came, it was the same. And with Chloe, it’s the same too.
And I pointed out, “But you know what, honey? When Chloe is a bit older, she will be able to be by herself a bit more. And I will have much more time with you. But I miss being alone with you too. So let’s go on a date.”
And so we did! Errm… with Chloe in tow, of course. No choice there!
Hunter was THRILLED when I pulled him out of school at noon the very next day, to take him out on his date.
We took the MRT, which he was so delighted with.. especially because he could stand right up the front and pretend to be the driver. Simple pleasures!
Chloe, thankfully, was sweet as pie the entire afternoon. And slept for about 2hrs in the stroller! That meant Hunter and I had the luxury of a quiet lunch date together, where we chatted about everything and laughed at silly jokes. And I listened to him (with FULL ATTENTION) as he explained all the Pokemon characters he liked,
I could feel his love meter going up 🙂
We wandered around the shops as I’d promised he could buy a small toy. He chose a transformer type toy – no surprises there! And he also picked out a Smiggle snap-bracelet for Carter.
Buying his toy. Yes, he has a plastic bag on his left hand. He took a big liking to my bit of rubbish and insisted on holding and wearing the plastic bag the entire afternoon, happily rustling it around and admiring it.
I am as confused as you are.
Of course, the very next day, it was Carter’s turn!
He was adamant on having all his favourite food – fried rice at Tampopo, pork katsu, tamago sush, and iced water.
He got it all and ate ALL OF IT. As in, the entire serving of fried rice plus all the other stuff. I have no idea how he managed to eat it all and not explode.
We are all smiles because, again, Chloe went down for a 2 hour nap, so we had a wonderful lunch together. So. Many. Cuddles!!
Almost finished here with his big bowl of fried rice. Nothing makes him happier!
Carter picked the double decker bus as his mode of transport during our date. He has been bugging me to go on one for months now, and I’d always just said “Later”… the way Mums do when we actually have no intention on doing so. Well, NO TIME LIKE NOW!
Enjoying his scoop of dark chocolate ice cream, as his treat. He chose the ice cream over a toy, because that’s just the way he is. His only concern?
“I want to buy Hunter something!”
When asked why, he reasoned that Hunter was at school while he was out, so he wanted to make Hunter happy.
This kid has a heart of pure gold.
The odd (but good) thing is, while Hunter was sad that he had less attention, he holds US responsible for it, and doesn’t blame Chloe.
Immediately after we had that little toilet chat that night, he went out and I found him and Chloe like this – both whispering sweet nothings to each other.
To this day, he will rush to see her every morning, and cuddle me only AFTER he has cuddled her. If she cries, he’s the first to rush to her side. He will easily spend 20-30mins with her, just gazing at her face, and whisper “You’re all my dreams come true! You’re my baby doll” etc.
His affection is rewarded. Chloe doesn’t really smile at people, but she will smile at Hunter. She eagerly turns her face when she hears his voice from afar, and will lock her eyes on him when he comes closer. She already adores him.
I am SO grateful for this bond that they have, and that he is so gentle and loving toward her (both photos were taken candid, without him realising I was watching). It makes me relieved that he doesn’t blame her for the lessened attention that he receives from Chris and I.
It was actually really uplifting to drop everything and cancel my plans for 2 days, and just focus on one-on-one dates with each boy. It reminded me of how much I adore them, and them me. It made me realise how much they yearn for my attention, even when they don’t appear to be missing it.
Most of all, it made me appreciate them for them.
Because when we are going about our daily grind, we simply forget that the thing our children need most is for us to be present.
Thank you, Hunter, for jerking me awake and reminding me to be the best Mum I can be to you guys!