I love my cousin’s children. It was incredible witnessing the birth of her third child a few months ago and having been there makes me feel a strong connection to him. However, her older son – he turned three recently – is working on staking a permanent claim on a corner of my heart. He is one of the sweetest, good-natured children I’ve ever known. He’s affectionate, empathetic, already fiercely protective of those he loves, and hopelessly irresistible. So irresistible, it’s impossible for me to say no to him.
When I spend time with him, my lap becomes his favourite place to sit. He plants himself on my lap for comfort, play, and conversations I sometimes have to pretend to understand – after all, not all three-year-olds have perfect pronunciation. I also become his go-to person when he needs to use the potty. He comes to me, no one else, tells me he has to go, then takes my hand, and leads me to the bathroom. I have to hold him in place so he doesn’t fall into the toilet bowl while he does his business then clean him up, and help him get re-dressed. This may not be my favourite part of spending time with him, but the trust he places in me feels like an enormous privilege.
The only problem with not saying no to him is that it adds to my pain levels. Unfortunately, he weighs more than his newborn brother so having him sit on my lap is one of the best and least enjoyable parts of spending time with him – if that makes any sense. There’s also the issue of how often he needs to use the potty because it means standing and sitting back down for the countless trips with him to the bathroom; or wherever else he feels like leading me: getting snacks from the kitchen or finding his toys. All of this added activity puts a strain on my legs and pelvis; and is most likely the reason I had the intense pain flare I wrote about in my last post after an overnight visit to celebrate his birthday two weeks ago.
Still, no matter how I try to justify it, none of this feels like a good enough reason to deny this little boy the physical closeness that gives him comfort, makes him feel secure, and happy. I also have to admit that even with the added pain; I don’t want to change how I interact with him because I want him to feel loved by me always.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Teach Your Children