The sucky bits- Part 3
In my pre children smug phase where I made a list of all the things that I definitely would not be doing as a parent, negotiating was right up there with ‘not watching too much TV’ and ‘only buying wooden toys’… All three are going swimmingly!
I’d see hassled looking parents frantically trying to persuade their children to put their trousers back on in the frozen food aisle of Morrisons by waving a Freddo frog under their nose and would vow that I would never buy into this back and forth of bartering, bribing and negotiating! It was going to be my way or the highway! I would be right- they would be wrong and they would do as I said! I was a nob!!
By 9am I have done more deals than a typical London Stock broker does in a career! There are days when it feels like all I have done is argue with the kids over EVERY. BLOODY. LITTLE. THING! There is an on-going battle occurring where we are all permanently vying for control and there is no winner, end or ceasefire in sight!
Esme is by far the worst! Not sure if it’s a girl thing or just personality related but the battles we have over clothing in particular have reached epic proportions! I dread having to get her dressed in the morning and the situation is not helped by the fact that she insists on getting stripped off every time we get back indoors (for the record, Esme’s definition of ‘indoors’ constitutes anywhere with a roof- homes, pubs, supermarkets, petrol stations… Her rule seems to be ‘If I can’t see the sky- I don’t need clothes on!’). This means we have to start the process again multiple times a day!
I suspect that my Mum may have hit the nail on the head when she rants about ‘kids these days having too many choices!’ As a teacher trained in the early 2000’s, giving children choices was the big idea. If a child was playing with something they shouldn’t be when you were teaching, you gave them two options… ‘It either goes in your pocket or it goes on my desk… you choose!’ The idea was that you gave the kids a way out where they felt they had some control but ultimately you won because either of the options would be a desirable outcome for you! And maybe my mum is right- I didn’t get a choice over what I was going to eat or drink or wear- you did as you were told! I can just imagine ‘THE LOOK’ I’d have got if I’d kicked off because my findus crispy pancake had been put on the wrong plate (don’t judge The Findus- ”twas the 80’s!!)
But in our house, we seem to have to make those choices about bloody everything! I don’t want that vest… I don’t want to wear those pants… I wanted the yellow plate… I wanted my beans perpendicular to my fish fingers! Not parallel!!! Every little thing seems to require a decision making process that takes ten minutes! And sometimes it’s an easy thing to fix or give in to but there are times when you have to put your foot down and insist that no you can’t do the school run dressed in a swimming costume with a ballet tutu over the top… even if you are wearing your wellies! It’s January FFS!!! Top of my list of things I didn’t want my children to be was spoilt and sometimes it feels like we walk precariously along that line!
I hate being weak! I hate the fact that I sometimes reward crappy behaviour by caving in to buying a toy or sweets or a magazine in the supermarket because I just can’t bear them kicking off and everyone staring! I can’t bear the waste of a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes that Esme refuses point blank to wear because she’s clinging on to last year’s summer wardrobe and insisting that they are ok because she will layer a million other things under it and look ridiculous! I get annoyed with myself when I cave in to ‘just one more Paw Patrol’ because it’s the easier option and I’m knackered and quite enjoying sitting down! I get angry with myself when I give a perfectly good slice of toast to the dog because I made the fatal mistake of cutting it into squares instead of bastard triangles and making another slice is the best way to avoid a full on meltdown!! I’m a strong person and they are beating me dam it!!!
But does it really matter?
Yes it’s annoying! Yes I get frustrated with the fact that I can ruin someone’s day by giving them the wrong colour cup! Yes it seems ridiculous to me! But for some reason, exactly what colour pants they are wearing that day is the most important thing to them at that very minute! They feel that strongly about it that it’s worth laying on the kitchen floor and sobbing about it- If you’d got to that point as an adult, whatever had put you there would hopefully have been something fairly monumental! I once saw a meme on the internet that said ‘just because whatever has caused the tantrum doesn’t make sense to you, doesn’t mean it’s not important to them!’ Someone had commented saying ‘yes but it also doesn’t mean they’re not being a nob either!!’ I suppose I’m somewhere in the middle!!!
My mantra is as follows… ‘Strong willed children grown up to change the world!’ We just have to weather this storm first… and keep our fingers crossed that Ted is the chilled out one!!!