Well, I gave it two months and no answer, so I guess I'm staying here! Besides which, I decided to change direction slightly from where I started and where I ended up. As anyone who reads this may have noticed from their mentions in previous posts that I have 2 small children. At the time of writing they are 2 and 4 years old. They are both boys and they are a handful and as much as they frustrate and exhaust me, I wouldn't change them for the world. I made them, they are perfect. I'm not a very good mum though. I yell and I scold and I ignore and I teach. I don't hug them as often as I should. I don't praise them as much as I should. I don't back down as much as I should. At present my firstborn has gotten into the habit of guilt tripping me whenever I tell him off. He'll argue back when I tell him off so I eventually sit him on the naughty step or send him to his room. After a few minutes he'll wander back in and ask me why I stopped loving him. I realise guilt tripping is a natural part of growing up and learning all kinds of social interactions, cause and effect etc but it kills me every time. No matter how many times I explain that I will always love him, no matter what, and that I have to tell him off when he's naughty but that doesn't mean I have stopped loving him, he still says it and it still feels like a knife to the heart. I know one day he'll just get it. He'll push and push and push and then realise that I'm not going anywhere and it's through choice, not just a sense of obligation, but right now, while he's still so tiny - it's just hard. Sometimes he's so grown up. Being an older brother in a house with only one parent meant that he had to grow up a bit faster than other children his age and it's often said that he's an old soul. He really is. There's something so very knowing inside of him. He understands far more of the world than someone his age should. But at times I look at him and see the tiny, defenceless, squirming baby that used to sleep on my chest with one hand holding a clump of my hair and the other hand being entirely covered by his tiny mouth. He's still so little, being only 4. And it's heartbreaking to know that he won't always be this little. He won't always be so inquisitive, asking about the clouds in the sky or how the television works. As an adult I take knowing those things for granted. If I don't understand how something works or I want to know more about it, I just google it. He's 4, he can't read. His only source of information is other people and so when he is curious, he asks me. I love that. I love being the one he relies on to find things out. Walking to Grandma's house once he asked me what the pretty building over the road was. It was a church and explaining the purpose of the church led on to an explanation about god. Being an atheist I explained to him about belief in a god, what a god is, the different types of religion and gods out there and so on and so forth with reassurances that, as he gets older, if he finds himself drifting towards a tendency to believe in any form of deity, then that's ok with me. I feel this overwhelming urge to let him to know that most of the things that he might choose in life are ok with me. As long as he doesn't hurt anyone, and as long as he's happy, then I'm happy. I have dreams for him. I have an imagination and I like to imagine him achieving great things as he reaches adulthood. But sometimes I forget to stop and look at him (and his brother) and appreciate what and who he is now. He's a little person. He's learning every day, every thing is still new to him. And while right now might be difficult and demanding, it isn't going to last forever. And before I know it he'll be a grown man with a life and possibly family of his own. And he won't need me as much anymore. And as much as his "Why have you stopped loving me?" questions might hurt me today, the thought of not having them tomorrow, well that feels even worse.