It wasn't until 2015 that I came to think again about these thoughts and ideas. A darkness had gripped our lives - I was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphoma and all I could think about was C. How to protect him from it - how to shield him from the emotional torture, seeing me undergo the treacherous treatment, and facing the possibility of losing his mum. I couldn't bear it. Every day was an exhausting juggle of physical pain, mental instability and emotional turmoil.
Above all of it, C was just entering his second year - a trying and vital time for him in his development. He had already initiated toilet training himself just before I got diagnosed, and when the darkness came, his interest just fell away. There were much bigger things for him to deal with, and we took his lead. But his struggles with independence and control over things intensified dramatically and we were stuck in this vastly uncertain place of not being able to differentiate the terrible-twos from these terrible-blues. We were desperate to help him.
One week C battled us relentlessly, night after night, with bath time, with getting dressed and with going to bed. We were in a bad place of being at the end of our emotional tethers with the enormity of our crumbling lives, and with simultaneously feeling like we were failing C by being unable to help him with these struggles. We held him, we got mad at him, we waited for him, we switched off from him, we soothed him, and we gave him choices to take a time out or to help us get him ready for bed. None of these worked, none of these felt right, but only served to put more distance between us, and we were desperate. Desperate for help and thirsty for knowledge.
My first thought was to call our health visitor for support, but she was unable to help and suggested that we had a visit from the 'early help hub', who would go over discipline techniques with us. I couldn't help but feel abandoned - we didn't know those people, and my gut was telling me that it wasn't right for us. We felt protective of C - we were in an extraordinary situation - and if there's one thing that I've always excelled at as a mum, it's following my instincts. That's when I contacted Nurture for guidance, and they directed me to Janet Lansbury on her Elevating Childcare blog as well as the Hand in Hand Parenting website.
The hours I spent reading those articles, absorbing that knowledge, and letting it wash over me like a reassuring ray of sun, were some of the most valuable hours of my life. At last, I was reading things that my gut resonated with. I understood it, it made sense to me, and I felt enormous relief.
That's when I first met RIE, and it changed my life as a mother.
You can find information about RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers), Janet Lansbury and Hand in Hand Parenting here: