Recently we were out having dinner with some friends. Gareth was on my lap and Gavin wanted to be on my lap, too. I told him “no” and directed him back to his chair with a hand on his shoulder. Gavin got back on his chair and turned away from me but not before I saw the look of hurt on his face. It made my heart ache. Since I couldn’t carry him and Gareth, I stroked his arm. He turned to look at me and I blew him a kiss. He smiled.
I’ve realised that I don’t necessarily have to give him exactly what he wants, but it isn’t difficult to soften the blow and show him what he needs to see – that he is still important and that I still care. I find spontaneous hugs and kisses, and touching can make the world of difference. It’s also a great way to make up to him and reconnect when I feel I have reacted too harshly.
One night Gavin woke up while I was nursing Gareth back to sleep. I was in an awkward position to nurse the boys simultaneously and I didn’t want to move Gareth because he was almost asleep. In the end, I settled for a compromise – I held Gavin’s hand and he went back to sleep. Sometimes, I think all he needs is just the reassurance but he doesn’t necessarily know how to ask for it.