I don't know if anyone else finds this with their chidren but I have found that Luca's developmental milestones have pretty much coincided with his birthdays thus far.

The obvious one of course: Walking at one.

And, with textbook timing, in the weeks preceding his second birthday his terrible two's began to manifest themselves with the classic "tantrum" phase. We were at my sister's house in Oxfordshire and I was bathing him when I witnessed his first one. It was 2 weeks before he turned two. And boy, oh boy, was it a bad one. In fact that first one was probably the worst one he ever had. My sister happened to come into the room at the time, unnoticed by me initially in my catatonically shocked state and, upon becoming aware of her presence, I said to her that I thought that Luca was sick. She, a Mum of four, giggled and assured me that he wasn't sick. Just having a good, old fashioned tantrum was all. Thankfully I had been reading up on Irish psychologist David Coleman's invaluable Parenting is Child's Play in advance and employed a strategy he'd suggested which worked. I find his advice really practical and easy to apply. And as quickly as they came - within weeks - the tantrums were over with again. Phew. He was back to his usual gentle and placid self. By and large.

I wasn't as prepared for what his third birthday brought with it though. David Coleman's book being a bit too big to bring along on the bikes. Oh yes - again literally just after his third birthday - the "Troublesome Three's" began in earnest with the "I will do it myself" or "Independence asserting" phase. Believe me, it's worse than it sounds. I guess it's pretty appropriate though that Luca is experiencing his "independence" seeking phase here in Vietnam, a country which has been shaped by its own struggles for independence  - from, inter alia China, Japan, France,  and more recently during what they call the American War. It is said by some Vietnamese that Vietnam is a beautiful woman who has been wooed many times. Suddenly in Saigon - or more correctly the day we got the plane to Saigon - and three days after his third birthday,  everything became a row from brushing his teeth, to getting dressed, to ordering his drinks or food when out at cafes/ restaurants (yes - he wanted to do that himself too if you don't mind) and also to not holding our hands when out and about. In fact, you name it - HE wanted to do it. Which is fine for a lot of things at three but not, naturally, for EVERYTHING. It's already beginning to abate somewhat though thankfully. And hopefully there'll be less dramatic independence seeking from hereon in. :)


Speaking of stuggles in Saigon I am still struggling with the chaotic traffic and especially cycling in it. I got my bicycle seat fixed in the wonderful Saigon Cycles on Sunday. Rod and his team there worked wonders in no time. And while Phil and Rod chatted away about bikes and their components ad nauseum (Zzzzzz....) myself and Luca had a lovely chat with Rod's two boys - Aidan (7) and Dylan (3). I got the third degree from Aidan - who is my favourite Superhero (his is Bugs Bunny - hang on  - Superhero?), what is my favourite type of Lego (his is Star Wars of which he has every piece he proudly informs me) and have I seen Kung Fu Panda II (yay - I score a point for being able to say Yes) are just openers. I really enjoyed the chats with him.

Anyway - bike repaired we duly set off on the cycle back to the hotel. And the whole way back I felt abject fear and exhileration in equal measure. It is an ABSOLUTELY terrifying but at the same time life affirming experience cycling through the madness that is life on Saigon roads. I mean the whole way back I just kept on repeating "OH MY GOD" and "I CAN'T DO THIS" (while still cycling of course), "HELP" as well as something slightly stronger over and over to myself. I wavered between tears and cheers. Terrified but determined too as we made our way through the constant sea of cars, buses, motorbikes, BEEP, BEEP, B-E-E-PING and erratic aggressive driving by everyone, everywhere around you - where anything goes it seems. I mean someone flew by me at one point with a rooster under their arms. At any given time, if I were so inclined, I could reach out my (white knuckled) hand and touch at least 4 motorbike drivers either side of me. I followed Phil and Luca's back wheel like my life depended on it. And it did.

We have since been cycling to and from the orphanage where we are volunteering and have been out with some of the kids on the bikes - and I am not struggling with it any less to be honest. I live in hope. I mean after all - just as I am re-learning through Luca's developmental struggles - growing as a person does mean facing and overcoming challenges. I will look to the indomitable spirit of the Saigonese and Vietnamese for inspiration. Wish me luck - I'll need it.

10 comments:

At June 15, 2011 at 6:26 PM Sharon said...

You're doing great my dear and always find your way through each & every challenge you're faced with - and I love that about you :) Keep up the good work - haha! Lotsa Love xx

 
At June 15, 2011 at 6:28 PM Sharon said...

PS - Lovin' that top pic of Luca and the expression on his face. A real classic :)

 
At June 15, 2011 at 6:34 PM Linda de Paor said...

Aw - thanks Shar & precious soon-to- hatch bump. Sniff, sniff.:) Miss you guys. x

 
At June 16, 2011 at 1:44 PM Sharon said...

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
You'll still be with us every moment... and we will keep you posted on it all x
You're doing great on the voting - surpassed them again though we need to keep the voting up over the weekend especially... We're plugging for you xx

 
At June 16, 2011 at 3:44 PM Linda de Paor said...

Ah Shar, big hugs. Thank you so much again ( & to Kev & Joy and Vic) for keeping up the voting and support for us with it. So typical you to think of others at this important time for you in your life :) . I think it's going to hit me hard not to be there when bump hatches. :( But there all the way in spirit. Lots of love to you all. xxxxx

 
At June 24, 2011 at 9:19 PM Cindy said...

You're doing just fine=) I actually enjoy moments like this, kids simply know how to surprise their parents, especially moms. And it's lovely to be surprised on how much they are growing and becoming independent, though it can really give some scare sometimes=)

 
At June 25, 2011 at 4:50 PM Linda de Paor said...

Thanks Cindy. All part of the fun of watching him grow up first hand. x

 
At June 29, 2011 at 10:23 AM Terra Verde Resort said...

Very nice article and nicely written. I can see your whole idea and of course your great experiences with the kids. Same as you I also believe that growing as a person does mean facing and overcoming challenges. And as you wish Good Luck!

 
At July 7, 2011 at 2:11 PM interior designers melbourne said...

You really are a hands-on mother to Luca. That's great. Being a mom for the fist time is not an easy thing to do but it is really fulfilling. I think you did a good job. Thanks for sharing this.

 
At July 7, 2011 at 4:49 PM Linda de Paor said...

Thank-you Terra Verde and Melbourne Interiors....Would you believe that the independence seeking has almost completely subsided now. We live and learn I guess. I'll be more prepared for it with no. 2 now. L

 

Post a Comment