Toddlers, Tears & Tantrums...
Parenting a three-going-on-thirteen-year-old is hard bloody work. What's got me crying tears of laughter and sheer frustration? Read on...
I bet if you typed "stark raving mad lunatic" into Google a picture of me would pop up immediately. It has been a tough few weeks working how exactly to make sense of life with an almost three-month-old and a three-year-old - or more aptly put, a threenager.
One word...Whoa! Why didn't anybody tell me how intense living with a three-year-old can get? Everyone bangs on about "the terrible twos" (guilty as charged), but if you ask me they're a walk in the park - piece of piss, easy breezy - use whatever analogy you will - compared to the "three-anger". Tell me good mums of the world, how does one (read: me) remain rational and calm when dealing with the irrational behaviour of a three-going-on thirteen-year-old?
I mean, they understand what you're saying and you know they can hear you when you're repeating over and over do not to touch that, do not wake / be rough/ yell/ poke the sleeping baby, do not climb up the fridge / in the cupboard /in the baby's cot/ out the dog flap - and yet the only thing they DO NOT DO IS LISTEN! They're like a cheeky European waiter who knows how to speak English but will look at you point blank and be all like "sorry non-comphrehendo". Oh, and then there's the backchat, defiance and sneaking of contraband.
Sammy has figured out if he times his thievery of contraband perfectly to Maia's feeding time, he will at the very least be able to wolf down his fair share of chocolate before I get to him. Check out these pics of him busted in action. He snuck out of his bed back downstairs, smuggled chocolate and ginger beer out of the fridge and hid in the cellar to consume both over a bit of YouTube. Hard to keep a straight face, but a sugar high at 9:30pm at night after a full day of looking after two kids, and two hours of trying to get him to go to bed, is the last thing any mum at her wits end needs.
Don't get me wrong, its not all bad! Samson is the sweetest, most switched on kid you'll meet. He loves Maia to bits and has taken on his role as big brother like a little champion. In fact most of the time has me in peals of laughter as he regals me with tales (sometimes very tall tales!) of his day at school. He'll tell me about how he and his friends were "freaking out" because the goat got out and how it was "so hilarious!" He also doesn't mind a little "whatever mum" too. Yes, he is three, and yes he really does speak like this.
BUT on the flip side to this, he's also very, very head strong. His favourite sport at the moment is "lets see how long I can ignore mum for before she loses it". Everyday he must choose every bit of his outfit - from his undies to his socks! He's very particular about his choices, and does not give a flying cahuna what his stylist mum wants him to wear. I have two choices - let him wear want he wants (even if he ends up looking like a multi-coloured superhero clown) or spend two hours getting out the door. You can guess who usually wins the fashion battle - give you a hint, it's not me.
My mum says he just "pushing all your buttons". Well let me tell you, it's this pushing of the buttons that is turning me into the aforementioned "stark raving mad lunatic". I will admit that I can get fiery, but generally, I have always been the diplomatic, rational person. The one that will try to remain calm in a situation. The one that said, "when I am a mum I am not going to scream like a lunatic, and especially not in public, for they are only kids". And yet here I am eating my words - BIG TIME!
While Sammy has been busy honing his ignoring skills, I seem to inadvertently been honing my yelling skills! I mean I've been yelling like I've never yelled before and quite frankly it's exhausting. Not just the yelling part, but also the emotional rollercoaster that ensues post screaming match. The guilt that floods in when you realise you've just gone three rounds with a person 30 years younger than you, and their final parting words "mum the only one that's naughty around here, is you!" hit you where it hurts. Cue tears. Yes, I have to admit there have been a few teary episodes this time around thanks to a cat-napper called Maia, tiredness and general exhaustion.
Having my mum around, who's been there done that with four kids, and my sister to talk me off the ledge when guilt gets the better of me has been invaluable. While acknowledging that Sammy definitely turns up the cheeky factor for me most, they also remind me he's just a kid acting out because he is missing his mummy's full attention, and that I need to just stop, take a deep breath and approach the situation with with a bit more patience. Sounds so simple and yet when you're in the thick of it, you are just aren't able to see the woods for the trees. Playdates with friends and catch ups with cousins have also been my saving grace. Being able to trade war stories - warts and alll- with other mums assures me the same scene is playing out in households everywhere!
So what's the point of this whole post, well I guess it's a bit of reassurance for me and you, that we all do things we don't feel proud of, but we have to remember we're only human, and sometimes small humans just know how to push you to your humanly limits. I don't have all the answers, but I do know that as mums we carry a lot of unnecessary guilt and regret. So if anything this is just a reminder to me and you to be kinder to ourselves. Love always wins and I know when all is said and done, my busy, clever, chocolate-stashing, ginger-beer drinking little three-anger will still want me to hold his hand until he finishes his bottle of milk and "love me to the moon and back" - and I him. And at the end of a very long day, that's all that counts.