As many adults I think small children must be taken care of. This is true and comes naturally to most of us. But it still comes as a surprise to me that our small, not long ago having been toddlers, children are able to take good care of us.
My sister has a kind of allergy or phobia against peach skin. She gets goose-bumps all over even while thinking of it. A bit more than twenty years ago, I watched my three-year old niece peeling the skin of a huge peach. I wondered what she was doing, because the fruit was washed and she didn’t mind eating it with the skin before. As soon as I asked her, she answered: “Mommy can’t eat the skin, so I am peeling it.” She was preparing the peach for her mother. My sister had no idea she was getting a peach. It was her daughter’s idea to do this.
About a month ago, I have put my son into a position to take care of me. It was done unintentionally, and I might have done this before, but this time I became aware of this and enjoyed immensely the lesson I learned.
I came back from a business trip. I had big difficulties to remain awake, already quite early in the evening, because of a Christmas party with colleagues the night before. My son wished me to bring him to bed. In contrast to me, he had difficulties to fall asleep, so I suggested to undo the studio couch in the room adjacent to his and to try to fall asleep there together. He agreed. But even then he turned from side to side, sat up and played with his toys. He was fully awake.
I wanted to slow him down and to make him relax. I asked for his hand. I hoped that holding hands would prevent him from moving too much. But unbeknownst to me I reversed our roles. Usually, he holds my husband’s or my hand when he falls asleep. Now I asked him for his hand. He was taken aback with this. He looked at me thoughtfully, then smiled and said: “You may have my hand, Mama.”
This is the last thing I remember before my husband came to wake me up and to bring Niklas to his bed. As I woke up, I saw Niklas sleeping beside me and holding my hand. He haven’t let it go.
The next morning, I thanked my son for taking care of me. He was extremely proud and talked for a while about this. He has demonstrated me how he closed his eyes, when he saw that I was asleep.
One of the interesting things I noticed: like many children, my son doesn’t like helping. But he loves taking responsibility and taking care of others. As long as he can decide and take control of the situation, he is willing to do what is asked of him. But his way. One of his favorite phrases currently is “you should”. I wonder where he has taken that from … 😉
Picture: my big boy shuffling snow two days ago. He was angry when my husband and our neighbor shuffled away the snow ‘mountain’ he has created. My son was of the opinion, that the pile of snow standing in the middle of the yard wouldn’t disturb the cars coming out of the garages.