When you realise you’ll never have the final word again
WHY WHY WHY do I let myself get drawn into an argument with a THREE year old? Honestly – you’d think being the mummy, and being “in control” I’d be a big enough person not to throw my own tantrums.
This week the beast has been tired and on edge. I’m sure it’s because he’s tired. He’s also been off his food. This drives me mad. I TRY and be understanding I really really do. If he said “I don’t want my dinner because my mouth hurts” I’d be slightly more understanding, however, he doesn’t. He says “In a MINIT mummy” or “I’m to tirreeddd” to eat it. Every now and then he’ll accept an offering of me to feed him, something I really hate doing, he’s been feeding himself since he was about 11 months for crying out loud, why should I start doing it again now?!
So on Monday we had an inevitable fall out. We had a lovely morning, made apple crumble (yes, that’s right, I took part in a “craft” with my child), played a bit and then he helped me make lunch. I was feeling the perfect SAHM. Then we sat at the table and chatted and ate our sandwiches together, when I say we ate them together, Fatso and I ate our sandwiches, our salad and crisps. The beast nibbled on a few bits of salad, ate his crisps and took one bite of sandwich. When I encouraged him to eat more so that we could have pudding and then go to the farm he snapped “IN A MINIT MUMMAY – I’M TOO BUSY RIGHT NOW”. *breathe*. I tried to ignore. But then I blew my solutions too early, I think the lack of sleep must have messed with my head causing me to lose all rationale. I used my fake call tactic, I “called” Anna and explained we couldn’t go to the farm any more because Theo was a baby. This usually works. This time it didn’t, in fact, it made him more petulant, which made me more frustrated. All the time Fatso was sitting there and I notice him sneaking bits of tomato off the beasts plate.
I then do what I promised I would never do, normally I ignore – I don’t know what got into me, I coaxed and bargained, but in the end I caused the mother of all tantrums by taking his precious motorbike away (for some reason he’d decided he got it for eating all his dinner so this seemed like a good test). I explained he could have it back when he ate all his dinner again. This caused a melt down which resulted being sent to the hall for 3 minutes. When I went to get him he was tantruming on the stairs. This resulted in much finger wagging and explaining how dangerous it is and my big gun – the thing I only do as a shock if it’s dangerous (or biting), I said he could either behave and do his time for 3 minutes in the hall or I would smack his bottom 3 times. This makes me sad. He chose to play on the stairs, so he got the 3 smacks.
Smacking. So controversial. Not something I do very often, I can count it on one hand. And if I do it, it’s rarely very hard, probably more like a gentle pat. But the message usually gets across. He calms himself down, does his 3 minutes in the hall, apologises and asks for his motorbike back. I explain he can have it back if he eats his tea later. He does. He has it back. We also went to the farm.
So I failed in what I strive so hard to do. I was weak. I didn’t follow through on my threats, and then I lost my rag. This was obviously sticking in my mind when last night he refused to go in the bath.
A solo bath time, not my favourite (in fact, I loathe bath time), and two very tired children. Again, while Fatso (who is trouble in his own right, I will update you on that another day) played happily in the bath I got the snappy “IN A MINUTE” response. So we stripped him down, and instead of distracting him like I normally would I dumped him in the bath. HUGE mistake. As soon as I did it I questioned what on EARTH was going on in my mind. I assume it was something along the lines of “I’m the mummy YOU WILL DO AS YOU’RE TOLD”. I should know better.
Much splashing, shouting, crying (from baby and toddler – baby gets upset from toddler crying and from mummy shouting), naked cold kicking doors ensued before he finally calms down and apologises to Larry for upsetting him. We have a brief wobble over PJs (not the ones he wants – tough) and when the baby is put to bed we do story and cuddles.
As I tuck him in, he says quietly “you didn’t smack my bottom today”. I explain that no I didn’t, that because he had apologised to Larry I didn’t have to. He says “you shouted and made me cry” (cue my a stab to the heart) we have a brief discussion about what had happened, I feel I have the final word when I say “no more screaming and crying any more, and you’ll be a good big boy” kiss him good night and stand up and go to leave the room when a little voice follows me with “and no more shouting and making me cry any more, and you’ll be a good big gurl”.
Now where the chuff is that delivery of wine?