Right now, OB is in the playroom by himself, playing. And I am in the adjoining room, typing this. Not so momentous you might think, but when I think back to the months and months after NB left when OB could not bear to play alone for even five minutes, I can hardly believe it. Then, every moment of every day, OB needed my constant presence right by his side. Now, nearly eight months on, here I am getting my jobs done while OB just checks in every ten minutes or so.
So often, when we're in the midst of something, it's impossible to imagine that anything would ever be any different. And then, when it seems to just sort itself out, we wonder why we were so worked up about it!
Looking back over the past year or so, I remember that OB was so determined to run away at any opportunity that I lived in terror that he would end up under the wheels of some car in front of my eyes. Now, he walks, skips and runs more or less by my side, and even holds out his hand without being asked when it's time to cross the road. It's been a long time since I endured the humiliation of a stranger bringing him back to me, tutting and with no attempt to conceal the disapproval on their face.
Toilet training was another thing I couldn't see the other side of. And yet now here we are, dry day after dry day.
And what about the long, sleepless nights? The night terrors? Refusal to stay in the big boy bed? All seem to have faded away.
Was it something I did? I don't know. For many of these things I had plans and strategies to achieve improvements but I honestly don't know whether they worked, or whether OB just moved on, grew out of it.
This 'not knowing' is tricky. Because even though many of the things that drove me crazy six months ago have faded into memories now, some haven't, and there are new things. Swimming lessons continue to be problematic, as does bathtime. The regular hairdresser visit has suddenly gone from problem-free to a meltdown zone at the introduction of clippers. Dogs still cause terror. Five trips to the dentist, and OB has never so much as opened his mouth. Every day begins with an insistent need to know the whole programme for the day - woe betide Mummy if she hasn't got every moment planned out! Afternoon naps are still followed by a massive unexplained meltdown more often than not. And of course there's the issue with loud and sudden noises that has been there since the beginning.
Will these things just pass away too? Just normal rites of passage for the growing toddler? Or is it something else, something deeper? Some issue that I need to come up with a strategy for?
The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that some of these different issues are just shoots from a root, and unless we can find a way to deal with the root, the shoots will keep coming, different but essentially the same. I think I am going to arm myself with a spade rather than pruning shears. We need new roots.