Sometimes I get told James is an easy child, but I really don’t think he is and when I try to say he’s not I am often met with disagreement, as in how can I not be finding James easy? In reality are any children easy? I don’t think I have ever heard any parent say it’s an easy job, and is it really up to other people to define whether our children are easy?
I know I am guilty of it. I have said my sisters daughter is an easy child a number of times, and that she is very lucky. However, I am basing that on the fact that she slept through very early on and she isn’t a fussy eater, both things I have struggled with James. However, by being a good sleeper and eater does that make her an easy child? It’s not for me as her Aunty to define whether she is an easy child or not. That’s for my sister to decide, and I am pretty sure she would say she isn’t an easy child.
Saying James is an easy child is often based on the fact that he is capable of playing quietly at people’s houses and that he now sleeps through the night (trust me that hasn’t always been the case). As long as there are toys he is generally happy to sit and play for a good while before he will get bored and restless. He has a good imagination and comes up with all sorts of games to play with toys, often not using them in the way they were designed for. He loves playing outside and is more than happy to run around aimlessly pleasing himself with his own game in his head. For someone who sees James play it can come across that he must be an easy child, because he will play nicely and it allows me to catch up with whomever we are visiting. However, there are numerous other factors that I would say mean that James isn’t an easy child, and I am sure people I see regularly and who have spent a lot of time with James would agree with me.
James is a child that doesn’t like change so taking him out of his usual routine can be a traumatic experience for him. He absolutely hates having his hair cut and will scream throughout the whole process. Luckily my sister cuts it for him so I don’t have to face embarrassment in a hairdressers, but it still takes two of us to hold him down and restrain him while my sister attempts to cut his hair. If his hair ever looks dodgy you can guarantee it will be because he hasn’t made cutting it easy. He also hates having his feet measured so that is a task that I always dread, having to again restrain him and wish the ground would swallow me up as the other customers in the shop look at me in horror while my child screams the place down. Then there is his fussy eating, and waiting in anticipation every meal time in the hope that he will at least try something new. There is his unwillingness to even drink out of any cups other than his usual ones, which means unless I have his cup on me he won’t drink anything at other peoples houses or at toddler groups. There is the utter heartbreak that he shows when a TV program finishes and he has to wait so many seconds for the next episode to start. The way he reacts you would really think the world was about to end.
Then there are other things that come in phases like the phase where he will do nothing but scream in the bath, or scream every time I put him in his car seat, so that my neighbours comment that he must hate my driving. The phases where he will let his legs go floppy so I have no option but to carry him around, the times where he will scream whenever we enter a shop, or even drive into Asda car park.
Many of these challenges we have with James will be familiar to other parents too. I know we are not alone in these quirks in his personality, and all children have testing times. I don’t think any children are easy and surely it is up to the parent to define if their child is easy or not. It is so easy to be envious of another child’s sleep, diet or behaviour, but you never know the challenges another Mum may face. We are lucky that James is a good sleeper and will play on his own nicely, but that doesn’t mean he is an easy child, we have a whole host of other challenges we face with him, because every child is different.