I can’t believe it’s that long since I blogged. One minute I was thinking to myself “I am too tired to blog this now, I’ll do it tomorrow”, the next I was up to my armpits in cleaning, then surrounded by shippy types invading the Island and decimating my cleaning, then up to my armpits in sawdust which totally finished the job. Now I am contemplating the cleaning again (what a week for my “lady who does” to become a “lady who doesn’t” due to a sickness bug. I wonder if she knew!)
I recall I was going to tell you about the special day. If I can do it without crying, that is. If you notice a few sodden blobs on the page, that’ll be me.
As you may remember me mentioning before, i do my utmost to have a “special day” with each of the Smudgelets from time to time, a day when I get rid of the other one by locking him in a cupboard or some such and concentrate on doing fun things with one boy on his own. This day was Tiddles’ day, a much needed occurance after the series of tantrums and wrong-doings lately and the feeling that our relationship was somewhat marred. I’d also picked up that his self-esteem seemed to be at an all-time low and I thought a bit of special attention might help redress the balance.
He’d been fed up, it seems, as he was beginning to realise that Smudgelet outshines him in many things which the world prizes – Smudgelet’s school work comes easy to him, he draws well, he is less musical than Tiddles but is doing well with music because he is better at learning to understand the written notes, he’s proving good at cooking and can read the recipes easily, and he’s gaining Cub badges at a tremendous rate. He’s also making noticable progress with his swimming where Tiddles has plateaued a little.
Tiddles skills are less tangible – though actually far more important. He can work cooperatively on things; he can understand how someone else might be feeling and can, by instinct, help them without being patronising; he can listen; he can ignore it when people tease him; he is open and caring and enjoys helping people out. But, of course, he doesn’t see these as skills. So that Wednesday was an important opportunity for me to talk to him about what he was good at, in the course of conversation, and emphasise how much I enjoyed spending time with my grown-up son.
Good for talking, but not a good day for doing. Typical Isle of Wight. Although the Easter Holidays were the two weeks prior to Easter Day, there had been no allowance for this in any of the planning and nowhere was actually open until the last Sunday of the holidays. We drove from place to place, all in vain. It was three o’clock by the time we gave it up as a bad job and decided to drive home and watch Star Wars together… for which we just had time before the return of the Smudgelet at five. But on the spur of the moment I turned, instead, into Brickfields Horse Country and organised for Tiddles to have an impromptu riding lesson. He was the only customer so it was one-to-one.
I regretted my idea instantly. He was so excited and so nervous that he became unbearable while we waited, talking in his baby voice and jumping up and down and being really silly. I couldn’t think which would be worse, a sullen teenager or a display of immaturity, but I dreaded witnessing his silliness from the side of the riding school… but it was too late to back out now.
In he went, hard hatted, and was taught how to mount the rather lovely horse that he was to ride. I was gobsmacked – all of a sudden he was intelligent and attentive, conversing in an adult manner with the instructor and asking sensible questions….. and listening to her instructions with concentration and thought. So far, so good. Off they set at a walk. She watched… and then called the owner of the stables over to watch with her. Then she got the lunge rein and tried him at a trot. Initially he bounced up and down all over the place and he, like I, was a mass of giggles… but she let him giggle and then told him to calm down and feel for the movement of the horse. And what do you know – a beautiful rising trot!
She came running over. “I know that you probably don’t want to hear this, and I know that it’s expensive and this was only a one-off, but this boy MUST learn to ride. Many parents fork out endless money on their children and I try gently to tell them not to bother because they’ll never get their money’s worth, but your son simply has to ride, even if only once a month. He’s bl***y brilliant!” Then she laughed and said “But I see you can see that already, bless you. You’re crying with pride!”
Needless to say, the money will be found. Dad’s offered to pay in the first instance, and several friends have given some money towards it as they’re so pleased at the impact it’s made on his self esteem. Add to it the fact that he spent some time during the holidays working with my brother-in-law and some time working with the “Men’s Club” at church (doing maintainance work) and the school have nominated him for six free sailing lessons… and he seems to have grown a whole new outlook on life over the holidays.
He’s still lost his football boots again, though!