In many ways, there's nothing you want more than your child to have emotional intelligence. To be caring, aware of the feelings of others, helpful and kind.
That, in essence, describes my little Timmy to a 'T.' He always wants to help me. If Joe cries, he fetches a dummy, rubs his back and says 'poor Joe Joe'. Holding Evie's hand in the park the other day, he fell when she stumbled to prevent her falling. And if anyone is crying, he'll say "Lily (or other appropriate name) not cry. Lily be happy!"
In short, he wants happiness for others, he wants to look after us all, he wants to make it all better. What a wonderful boy he is - and what a wonderful husband he'll make in the future.
The problem is, that at 2 years old, and living with a 5 year old, another 2 year old and a 1 year old, this "emotional intelligence" is rarely (if ever) reciprocated. And, unfortunately, his sensitivity makes him really vulnerable when it comes to the 'normal' behaviour of the others. If Joe pushes him out of the way on the slide, for example, he gets not only upset but 'hurt.'
He doesn't understand why the others don't necessarily comfort him when he cries.
It makes me sad that what should be a wonderful attribute - being attuned to the needs of others, wanting to make things better for them - makes him into a potential victim and increases his chances of being hurt.
But what to do? Hopefully, in time, the others will catch him up in terms of their empathy for others. Hopefully, he will come to understand that it's OK when others cry sometimes. Hopefully he will realise that it's not HIS job to make everything better.
Until then, mummy is on hand to make everything better - as much as I can.
This weekend my brother came to stay with two of his kids: James (7) and Emily (5). Lily and Emily were like peas in a pod and it was lovely to watch them play together. James talked constantly of football - and I've no idea whether he actually knows an inordinate amount about different teams and players - both past and present - or whether he has an active imagination. I'm clueless about footie!
But can you imagine - in our four bedroom house - what it was like to have 6 children and three adults staying? James and his dad stayed in the playroom on a put-you-up couch; Emily stayed in Lily's room. It was a noisy, frantic, tiring weekend - but wonderful all the same.
I don't see family much, but my brother has come through for me and supported me so much by coming to see me when he knows I'm a bit lonely for family. Which goes to show how important it is to have siblings - both now and in the future.
That said, I think both Steve and Ray and I were a little relieved when the weekend came to an end and we could collapse.... and enjoy the relative silence.
Then it occurred to me... soon, I'll have five children and it will be almost like that ALL of the time.
Anyone got any spare ear-plugs?