When their is one of you parenting your child you never get to play good cop, bad cop or tag team. It is the rubbish bit of being a single parent for me.
Having a child is often challenging – read- hard, frustrating, tiring. Thats where a team of two comes into its own, can’t get the screaming child off to sleep? hand it over to your other half while you have a breather (read- glass of wine, or cup of tea in my case as I am now boringly dry). Take turns at having the Saturday lie in. Make the big decisions together, be able to discuss how to handle situations, be consistent in actions so no playing one off against whether as much as possible. Play good cop, bad cop – remember that phrase ‘wait this your father gets home’? I’m not on board with the original meaning (I didn’t grow up with a dad) i.e. if you don’t listen to me he will deal with you but there is a certain security found in the unity of two parents who live in the same house, someone you can turn to in the middle of the night, wake them up and say, do you think I handled her refusing to eat dinner ok? and have a constructive discussion. Like having a cheer leader of your very own, to clarify things in your moments of parenting self doubt, someone who shares the same intensity of love for your child as you do, since it is half theirs. But, when there is only one of you (me) at home you don’t get to do that and it is hard at times, sometimes I want to hand Lulu over to her dad when he gets home so I can go and cool off, re group, wee, whatever! It must be nice to hear someone say ‘your mother is right, please do as she tells you’. But alas, I can’t hand her over, I am the good, the bad and the ugly.
On the plus side I have learnt to have have extreme patience with situations, have grown much more confident in the decisions I make regarding Lu and in turn in the rest of my life and am not so frightened anymore of being the one ‘to blame’ should she not turn out so well!
Lulu started primary school last week, she was very excited and literally ran there on day one and two, on day three it wasn’t such a happy tale. I got home from work and asked her how her day had been, she didn’t want to talk but eventually told me that her teacher had been ‘cross with her’ because she had stood in the wrong line, that the class room and play ground were too big and full of lots of children and she kept getting bumped and then she started crying and told me that none of the other children wanted to play with her. My heart literally shattered. It was my very worst fear, I could write meal planners and timetables and label as many jumpers as possible but I couldn’t control the politics at school. My little girl had no friends and everyone did. Lulu was one of only eight other children joining in Reception that hadn’t been in the nursery attached to the school so everyone else did know each other pretty much, but she had come from a full time nursery and had always been chatty and made friends easily so I hadn’t been too concerned. I discussed the matter with my mum who drops her off and collects her and she spoke with Lulu’s from teacher the next morning who said Lu seemed to be settling in well but she would keep an eye on her.
I didn’t make too much of an issue about it that evening and she said school had been fine, but the next morning she said she felt poorly and didn’t want to go to school, the ‘parents dilemma’. Lulu is a very stoic child and not really a moaner or complainer but who hasn’t said they felt sick in order to get out of doing something they don’t like? She said her throat hurt but I convinced her to go to school and that if she still felt sick to tell the teacher who would call nanny to come and collect her. That was Friday morning.
Two hours late she was home with a very high temperature, by Sunday we were at the hospital and they diagnosed laryngitis, the next day we were back at the doctor due to dehydration and finally day, Wednesday, she is almost 100% better. I’ve had to take take two days off work and she has been stuck to be like a limpet, she lost her voice and sobbed in pain for three nights, she hasn’t eaten since Friday but she has asked to watch a film and will spend more than 5 minutes without me next to her so its looking positive.
I now worry that missing these days at school may have set back re the whole ‘making friends’ thing but, back to school she must go, even though she is already reminding me that she doesn’t like it. I am sure that it will all work out fine in the end but there is a tiny bit of me that really worries that it won’t, what can I do? I’m completely powerless, I can’t make the other children be her friends, I guess its just a waiting game. Something we all had to go through during our first days of school, which I remember clearly were rubbish. I started school two weeks later than everyone else and they had already all paired up when I arrived but eventually I made good friends. Maybe it’s my own experience that is making me more anxious than necessary about Lulu making friends, fitting in, I’m trying to be stoic too and can but hope that she starts to enjoy the whole ‘going to school’ experience soon.