Tough Love 101
I remember our first seaside trip with Nasri almost 2 years ago. For the sensory sensitive boy he was at that time, a trip that should have involved lots of fun; playing in the sand and chasing of waves turned out pretty much horrible for him. He didn’t like the feel of the rough sand under his feet and the waves to him, were just scary. It didn’t help (me) that N was persistent in his moves to make Nasri more susceptible to the feeling of the sand grains on his feet and body that he smothered sand all over him and made the little guy stand in the waves bawling his eyes out and screaming all the while. N wouldn’t let me console Nasri and it pained me to see him suffer so. I eventually gave in, not because I agreed with N (I thought there were better ways of dealing with the situation) but because I knew I could not argue with him, and even if I did, I wouldn’t win. So I walked away from the beach, backing away from my son who was crying out to me wanting me to carry him away and to give him his cuddles and tucked myself in a corner at the resort behind some palm trees bawling my eyes out, furious with N.
It has always been so between N and I when it comes to parenting. I have always been the one they come to for hugs, kisses and cuddles and bedtime stories. I prefer to be firm yet calm and loving (if that’s possible) although there are times when the dragon in me emerges and a few hangers or belts nearest to me come handy if the boys get out of hand. N on the other hand is our disciplinarian and the kids will kiss him when “ordered” to. Hehe..kesian N. Our in-house Sergeant Hassan, if I may call him that. He is the typical no nonsense dad, strict and firm and what he says goes. Fullstop.
It gets a bit more difficult when we are dealing wih Nasri and coping with his “issues”. Being the one mostly responsible for Nasri’s therapy and also the one who surfs the net day in day out searching for new ways to improve his daily programmes, we are on two different ends of the planet on our opinions on how to handle him. N likes to rough it out, nevermind if the boy screams murder, nevermind if the house turns upside down. Sergeant Hassan kan? Kadang-kadang macam Hitler pun ada jugak (hehe..)! I on the other hand, so called more knowledgable on the methods couldn’t bear to see my son being “tormented” in that manner. Initially, we had our little squabbles on this but in the end, I learned to shut out his cries for help but to do this, I always had to walk out. I couldn’t watch it and I knew I couldn’t reason with N on this. It wasn’t as though N was hurting the boy, no, he wouldn’t do that as he loves his son as much as I do. But he had his own ways of “treating” Nasri’s issues.
Over time, although I began to get used to N’s methods, I harbored a kind of anger at him for doing it. It wasn’t until recently when N and I attended a session with Nasri’s therapists that we discussed these issues.. N wasn’t all wrong and neither was I. In fact, at one point they even told me, “It’s his son too” and that if I couldn’t watch, then I should just leave N with his son and let him do whatever. It’s apparently good that we have this balance in our family and we should make the most out of this; not only for when with Nasri but also with his abang.
It has produced results though, Nasri has progressed in so many different ways. He no longer is uncomfortable with sand and he no longer is that sensory sensitive child he was those days. In fact, he loves playing in sand these days (it also helped that his therapists recommended that we cover his body with “kanji” every other day and let him play in it) and although we haven’t been to the beach off-late, I don’t think he’d have any problems loving the waves anymore. Come to think of it, maybe we should pack our beachwear and get to the beach this weekend to celebrate our little boy!
No one told me that parenting would be hard and I’m not talking about mother and child parenting; more of the mother vs father parenting issues. But I guess that’s what this life is about, for us to evolve and to live and learn. Perhaps one day N will learn to be a bit like me, and as for this mommy, it looks like I have to take a “Tough-Love 101” course. How lah to have a third one like this?