Ollie was discharged from hospital last Monday and this last week has been a blur of feeds, tidying the house, catching up with family and friends, school pick ups and drop offs and of course, trying to spend quality time with Aidan. To say I’m exhausted is an understatement and I cannot promise that this blog post will be grammatically correct or even coherent. However, the hardest thing about the last week has not been my lack of time or sleep, it’s been the challenges of dealing with Aidan’s growing discipline issues.
One of the things Anthony and I have always agreed upon was that no matter how sick Aidan was we would always ensure he was well behaved. Having met many sick and terminally ill children over the years we have come face to face with little terrors who have never heard the word no and we vowed we would never let our child behave like that. The reality however, has been a little different.
Discipline has been one of the most challenging aspects of Aidan’s illness. No parent likes to upset or chastise their child but, for me, I can’t get past the fact that Aidan could develop an infection and die suddenly and if that were to happen at a time when he was upset with me then I would never forgive myself. I also believe that there are so many things Aidan is forced to do against his will like taking his medications, getting his dressing changed and being subjected to countless medical procedures that I tend to overlook it when he leaves his toys lying around. Then there’s the argument that when Aidan refuses to get his nappy changed, it is actually his way of asserting authority in a world where he has little control over what happens to him. Plus he’s developmentally three so it’s normal for children to act out at this age. And as much as I hate to admit it, there are also times when I let his behaviour slide because I’m too tired and emotionally drained to deal with the drama of a tantrum. As you can see there are many and varied excuses (admittedly not all valid) for why I have taken a soft approach to discipline.
It comes as no surprise then that Aidan’s behaviour is starting to get out of control. It’s been a heartbreaking week watching Aidan struggle with having to wait while mummy and daddy tend to Ollie and being bombarded with a whole new set of rules at school. He’s exhausted from starting school, adjusting to having a new brother and is suddenly being told ‘no’ wherever he turns. There have been many tears (not just from Aidan) and a mix of both guilt and embarrassment from my end. There’s a part of me that wants to pick him up, cuddle him and tell him that he never has to abide by another rule again but I know that’s not at all helpful to Aidan in the long run. So while Aidan is starting to learn his ABCs I’m learning how to be a stricter mum.