First of all thank you so much for your support it means the World to me.
Last night it was the worst night yet. Oliver had a great day with his grandparents, out and about in playgrounds etc. Which of course is fantastic but in my opinion children that age do need some quiet time too during the day, playing alone and "regroup". I would not say this to them of course as I'm sure their intention was to have him tired by the evening. We came home and Oliver started acting up a bit, nothing major and nothing unseen before. I fed him dinner, bath time and then bed. He went down no problem after his bottle. It may have been 8.15 pm. We all went to bed early not knowing what the night ahead would bring.
It brought Hell.
Oliver woke up around half past midnight screaming. Both Mike and I went in as it sounded like he was either in pain or had a nightmare. We picked him up to soothe him and gave him some painkiller just in case. I went back to bed and Mike started the "going back to sleep" task. Oliver would stay in his crib quite happily but no sign of sleeping. He was wired and just wanting to play. At this stage my parents were in bed and did quite well at staying put. Oliver never cried with Mike unless he was trying to leave the room. I got up again around 2 am and warmed some milk to see if it would help getting him back to sleep. He took the milk but no joy. No crying either. At 3am Mike came into the room and asked me to take over as he was at the end of his strength (also we get up around 6.40 in the morning...). So I went in and Oliver started crying (you know, the tantrum cry, loud ear piercing crying that stops instantly if you do what he wants), he just wanted to be picked up but I stuck to my guns and kept putting him back down. Of course this went on for about 10 minutes at which point my father came into the room and said he would stay there to keep him company if I wanted to go back to bed. I declined. All this while I kept putting Oliver down on his back and he kept rolling over and stand back up crying. My father started loosing it and accused me literally of being abusive towards my son and showed surprise that nobody had called the police and social services on me yet. Seriously. He was practically shouting at me (which had the effect of quietening Oliver momentarily, we in fact never shout) which brought up memories and not of the pleasant kind. Memories of my childhood when he would slap me across the face several times because I was looking at him the "wrong way". I had bruises the day after going into school. Or another time when I was a bit older, and I got a mark in school below my average (I was generally an A student, this one time I must have got a C) and he shouted at me that this was a "signal" (no idea what signal) and that I was getting distracted. Of course I got another C the same week somewhere else and I clearly remember being sick to my stomach in fear. Or another time, again a bit older, say about 16, when we were leaving some friends' house after dinner and he was being quite loud so I told him to keep his voice down as people were sleeping at that time. He slapped me hard across the face (imagine the look on friends' faces and the embarrassing silence that followed).
This is abuse in my eyes and not what I was doing (being consistent with a child who is just fussing at night because he's been hyper all day). I so wanted to shout back at him and tell him what I just wrote down here. I didn't. I think the last slap was in fact the last ever he gave me and I remember clearly thinking that should he dare lifting a hand on me one more time and I would have called the police. And you wonder why I couldn't wait to leave home? Or why I got married at 24 to the wrong guy? It looks quite obvious to me.
My mother in all this never intervened in front of him, though I am sure she always talked to him as often apologies were offered (and regularly turned down by me).
I certainly don't want to be that kind of parent. He may have rocked me to sleep when I was small, bought me all sorts of things and loved me dearly most of the time, but that is not all that I remember.
Oliver went to sleep within half an hour of me taking over. In the end I gave him a biscuit and that settled him for the rest of the night. When we left this morning at 7.30 he was still sound asleep.