I can’t believe another month of failed parenting has flown by. I suppose book launches, half term, and generally life does help time move without giving us a chance to realise it.
This month I want to talk about picking battles. You see, I have two “strong willed” and “independent” children (replace the quoted words with “stubborn” and “feral”), and they often have their own opinion on how life should be. The thing is unfortunately for them, they’re not always right, because, well, I am always right.
“Pick your battles” is often a phrase I say to myself. In fact, I probably say it a gazillion times a day, because as we all know, if you didn’t your life would be just one big war. Over the last three years I’ve come to know my children quite well so I am pretty certain I’m picking the right battles. One of the battles which I tend to dig my heels in is when it comes to life or death situations, for example…
Don’t do that you’ll hurt yourself.
I say this sentence quite a few times a day. It can be uttered without much hope at a child jumping off the bottom step off (although to be honest, I’ve given up fighting anything under the bottom five steps). It can be uttered as they body slam onto the floor pretending to be injured by a “baddie” again, not something I push too much. Instead I save the forceful “I SAID NO!” for more risky situations.
You see, I’m sure it’s not just my children who have no sense of danger? All children are daredevils who think they actually have superhero powers…don’t they?
ANYWAY. Such situations where I decide that a battle is to be fought could perhaps be stopping a three-year-old from leaping down the escalator from the top floor of an Odeon cinema. When the initial attempt to reason is met with “Don’t worry mummy, I’m the red Power Ranger” and “I do it myself” sometimes you have to be a bit of a cow, and on this such occasion I held onto a suddenly floppy legged child down the mammouth escalator and then when he refused to walk off at the bottom, I dragged him across the foyer floor while he screamed “NOOOO LEAVEEE MEEE ALLOONNNEEE”. This tantrum lasted approximately 15 minutes where I carried him back to the car kicking and screaming yelling. After karate chopping him into the car and threatening putting the ipad in the bin if he even dared to unfasten his seatbelt, he continued to scream at me half way home demanding I “TURN THIS CAR AROUND RIGHT NOW.”
Other similar situations are when I demand a small wannabe Spider-Man stop scaling the bumpy slides at soft play and get down and put his socks back on, when I won’t let them run into a road, or when I won’t let them sword fight with sticks.
I have however let them use the plastic golf clubs as Ninja Turtle weapons. After all…anything for a quiet life!
Speaking of a quiet life I think I say the following at least once a week.
Go to sleep, so that tomorrow we can have a lovely day.
I’m a firm believer of bedtimes. Not just because I want a nice quiet time with Mr Aimee and gin, but because THEY NEED SLEEP. I’m also a firm believer in continuing as you mean to go on. I’ve never been one for climbing into bed with my children, or letting them climb in with me. The few times I’ve attempted it I’ve spent the majority of the time with a small finger up my nose (not mine), or somebody prising open my eyelids before sucking on my nose. Eventually I snap and storm out of the room and am back to the beginning, an hour later then I would have been if I’d stuck to my guns.
Therefore, whether it’s the school holidays or not, I will be throwing the children in bed at 7pm, and even if they claim not to be tired I will continue the battle, of picking up and putting back into bed, and moving pegs down the reward charts. Because, on the few times I have caved, on the occasions I’ve been guilted into letting them stay up late, not only have I suffered the next day with grumpy, irritable tantrum-ridden children, but I’ve suffered overnight because they’ve got so tired that they can’t settle comfortably.
You see, my children need sleep to function the next day. I’m not saying that every child needs a good 10-13 hours sleep to be pleasant, some can cope on about six, but not mine, if they’re not well rested, they’re vile.
Oh and before you say it, they don’t lie in, they’re up the same time no matter what time we put them to bed.
Speaking of vile, it’s not just tired children that are grumpy, but hungry ones too.
If you don’t eat your main meal there won’t be any pudding.
When I first started weaning I promised myself I wouldn’t get uptight about food, but I would also get strict. I was a picky eater well into my teens, and there was nothing worse than the feeling of dread of either rocking up to somebody’s house or going out to dinner and there not being anything I liked.
Therefore I’ve always run with the mantra “if they eat one good meal a day I’m happy.” Which means that from early on, if the boys didn’t eat what they were given, they didn’t eat at all. When they were young I’d supplement them later in the day when they couldn’t relate it back to an alternative lunch or dinner. I’d give them porridge for super maybe, or something mid-afternoon.
As they’ve got older it’s been pretty much “if you don’t eat, you don’t get pudding” this works amazingly for The Beast as he loves pudding. Unfortunately he learnt fast and so my satisfying moments of tucking into an extra portion of apple crumble or chocolate ice-cream were short lived. Yes, he’d kick and scream, and yes I’d feel a tiny bit guilty (I mean, a moment on the lips and all that!) but it’s totally worth it.
However, The Chunky Monkey is not so easily swayed, with the exception of biscuits, and more recently ice-cream he’s not a fan of pudding really. He very much runs by the “couldn’t give a toss” rule. Therefore the above saying about pudding has been stretched to “if you don’t eat that, no iPad”. Works a treat.
What battles do you pick and which do you ignore?
This is a co-hosted linky, this month it’s hosted by Morgana at But Mummy Why. Please make sure you also follow the other key members of the club Alison over at Not Another Mummy Blog and Katie from Hurrah for Gin!
(because last month I was naughty and on holiday). I’m passing the baton to Katie at Hurrah For Gin, then she will hand over to But Why Mummy Why and t Not Another Mummy Blog. Make sure you check them all out as it’s also a blog hop (have you got all that, because I have had a few glasses of wine.)