Harper needs her mom the way all kids do, but she has never really seemed to need extra from me, and seems to be actively pushing a way from me much of the time.
Michael is a totally different beast. Where Harper pushes, Michael curls in, snuggles, clings. There are days I swear he would crawl back into the womb if he could.
As I tuck Michael in at night he always asks me, tearfully, to stay in his room. When I ask why he wants me to stay the answer is always the same, "Becat me luf you." (Because I love you.)
If I am leaving the house he always looks at me and says, "You no go."
It is April and finally, three days in a row, he didn't cry when I dropped him off at school. (But don't worry too much, he never cried for more than a few seconds after I left.)
Last week, in the midst of our time with visitors, I had to run with Michael to his first dentist appointment.
|Waiting room Michael - BEFORE the traumatic dental experience.|
There was a lot of screaming, thrashing, begging to go home. We'd get him to calm down (he was trying so hard to cooperate) and then as soon as he felt any kind of dental instrument in his mouth he would freak out all over again. It was horrible.
The hygienist had the patience of a saint and remained very calm, for which I am so grateful. I had some serious cut and run reflexes firing in my brain. It feels completely unnatural to force a child to stay in a situation which he perceives as being terrifying/painful - especially one that goes on for a significant amount of time. Handling vaccinations pales in comparison to this dental experience - at least they are over quickly.
SOMEHOW his teeth eventually were cleaned and he even tried to put on a brave smile for a picture. You'll notice he was allowed to rinse the old fashioned way - the hygienist knew not to go near him with the squirter and suction things!
To add insult to injury the dentist himself snapped at me when he was trying to get a look at Michael's teeth. He wanted me to be quiet (I was still doing my best frantic verbal calming) so he could talk to Michael, which is fine, but I wasn't the screaming three-year-old and I would have appreciated some manners.
By the time we got back into the car I was exhausted and shaking - which sounds kind of ridiculous now but you weren't there - you didn't hear the screaming.
Of course I don't want Harper to be hurt or scared or sad either. She just seems...tougher, somehow. I worry a little less about what the world is going to throw her way because she strikes me as such a capable kid.
I don't want to protect Michael to the point that I am holding him back. I hope I am just honoring who he is and how he is different from his sister. He needs a little more hand-holding for now. Whether it is a boy/girl thing or first/second child thing or just a Harper/Michael thing - he doesn't seem in such a hurry to grow up and that's really fine with me.