After a come-to-Jesus talk with my sister, I did some looking at my relationship with my loving, complicated Nate. I didn't like that our relationship was almost always a "teaching, guiding" one and rarely a fun one. I know I made a conscious choice to stop and play with him every day, to make sure to cook with him and do arts and crafts, but somehow it always turned into a discipline situation.
I do feel strongly about manners and rules and consequences. And Daddy is the fun one, so I think I was trying to be the manners police for the both of us. But my sister suggested I start picking my battles a little more carefully, and after some thinking I knew she was right.
I've made a really big effort, the past three weeks, to play more and teach less. When Stewart comes home, I sometimes hand him Jack and take Nate for a walk to get a treat. I'm holding my tongue in some of the smaller discipline areas, and making sure to put the laundry aside at least some of the times he wants me to play with him. Most importantly, I'm doing my best to anticipate the times that he's going to get upset and prickly, so that I don't get so frustrated when he acts out. I think it's all helping.
This morning, he wouldn't let Stewart get him out of bed - he only wanted me. And a few mornings ago he made Stewart bring him in to see me and cuddled up next to me in bed. He said "I love lying next to you!" Stewart met me today to pick Nate up from school together, and he was equally happy to see both of us. He hugged us each around one leg and said "Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy!"
What a joy this kid is.