boy explores plants with magnifying glass

Chapter 5: Regression – It’s Okay Mummy

Woh – what a week! You know that feeling after you’ve had a long day in heels and you finally arrive home, sit down and can kick them off… wait for it… aah! That’s how I feel about this week. Daddy has been away, so I’ve had to hold onto the parenting reins solo, which would be okay if my children hadn’t seemingly turned into untamed, wild horses overnight. Okay – I say children – I’ll be honest, I really am referring to just one child in particular.

He, (who shall remain nameless) has dropped the ability to sleep past 5.57am, has lost control of his bladder and has forgotten how to use his gentle hands and listening ears. Now, I’m not silly, I’m sure these things are in part connected… A lack of sleep, Daddy’s departure, adjusting to sharing my time and space with his baby brother, they’re all challenges that his three-year old brain has to cope with. On the one hand, I feel sorry for him, on the other, it’s just life and we all have to learn to deal with it somehow. I guess he’s managing his lot in the best way his juvenile mind knows – waddling around in wet underwear and lashing out with his limbs – I’m sure he’ll learn to express himself differently as he gets older… At least, I hope so?! For now though, we’ve definitely taken a few steps backwards.

Often, we tend to think of progress as linear. In my teaching career, children were expected to make at least two sub-levels of progress every year; but in reality some  children would make more whilst a few would make less. Some years progress would speed up, some years it would slow down and occasionally, for a variety of reasons, children might appear to regress. (I write this to reassure those worried parents amongst you with anxious children who have diligently faced their KS2 SATs tests this week). There are countless factors that can affect the final results (it would take a whole new website to discuss these) so, as long as our children have given it their best shot, we should be proud regardless. Not achieving ‘age related expectations’ at age 11, does not necessarily equal an adulthood spent waddling around in wet underwear and lashing out whenever they are told, “No!” With the right encouragement, children will progress along their own timeline, as and when they’re ready, in the areas that interest them most… achieving ‘success’ in their own unique ways. Well, that’s the story I’m sticking with anyway. How many time-outs can a child receive at school before their future success is hindered?

With Daddy being away this week, I too have shown signs of regression and have most definitely needed a 7pm bedtime like my boys! I am in serious admiration of all the single parents right now – how do you function when there’s no one to share the load? I can’t quite remember because my brain is too foggy, but I may or may not have placed soiled nappies in the laundry bin, worn clothes in the nappy bin, milk in the dishwasher and dirty plates in the fridge! It’s also caused me to experience a dip in confidence with my writing. I have almost been tempted to do a complete rewrite of the stories I have written so far – more writer’s scrap than writer’s block. This really is a period of regression.

When you’re in the thick of regression it can be hard to believe that you will start moving forwards again. But the truth is, you will. I haven’t scrapped my stories and I’m not going to either, I’m just going to try a little bit harder and next week, it is likely I will see them in a different light. Plus, I have booked myself onto a picture-book writing course in the summer, which I’m super excited about – so, if my scrapheap of stories is as high as Everest by July, then hopefully I’ll learn enough on the course to put the wheels in forward motion again.

Likewise, with Daddy home, the parenting load and the emotions that run alongside it can be shared again. This week, we may have taken one step back (okay, I mean a giant leap), but it’s alright as this means next week we will hopefully take two steps forward, or even two giant leaps. Bladder control will resume, kind hands and gentle ears will be relocated and maybe, just maybe, we might get the odd morning ‘lay-in’ to a time past 6 o’ clock. That’s the parenting dream, anyway.


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