Mitts is struggling with life at 2. He has started being physically and verbally assertive (to put it mildly) and I am sure the collective weight of correction from both ourselves and others is getting him down. He can't get away with hitting or shoving. On the other hand with the bulk of his playmates being girls there is a tendency for him to be at the rougher end, noted as such by the parents of girls, without necessarily being the instigator. Part of learning is not to hit, part of learning is not to snatch or boss other kids about. And dare I say being hit by their friends when they try to wrestle a teddy away from them is one of the ways kids learn that they aren't an island. Which is to say that it ain't always his fault.
Still. He can't hit and we will keep making that clear. And there are a few ways he is testing ground, asserting himself, pushing boundaries, most of which need some curbing at the fringes. But perhaps we need to add some other carrot. I think a boy is sad and world-weary.
He held on today, as he now often does, at childcare. His chin slumped on my shoulder, yet his grip around me was firm. The new normal, before which he was better than fine and he'd adjusted well to childcare from the start. As with Bear who hurls herself in, loves her kinder teacher, and currently strikes a nice balance by waving to me from the window but then leaving to return to her friends before I have driven off.
Men have a lot of lessons to learn as they grow up. There are a lot of contradictions in those lessons. He will be baffled many times. My job may be to guide him through those lessons, teach him to be a decent man, but it is also to make sure the weight of contradictions and the size of the task of tackling life itself don't overwhelm him. At first, he needs love and reassurance. While keeping the rules firm, I need to find more ways to give him that love and reassurance.
And hang out throwing mud and stuff.
5 hours ago