Where do I start? Mostly, we’ve been very lucky (or perhaps it’s gentle parenting) and not had many examples of full blown ‘terrible two’s’ (God how I hate that phrase) tantrums. In public, if we have I’ve stayed calm, ignored everyone around us, chatted through the problem at her level and usually resolved it quickly. It’s been rare. At home, similar works but can’t promise I’ve always kept my cool as much as I should.
I was unlucky enough to witness a screaming child in a shop the other day. Ignored by mother, chastised by father, this kid was only ever told ‘don’t do that, don’t touch that, what did I tell you? Come here. Don’t touch that’ – my word I was frustrated within seconds so I don’t know how the poor child felt. He naturally broke down, screamed, kicked- I mean wouldn’t we all if treated like that and we hadn’t learnt that’s not acceptable to kick out in retaliation? I didn’t hear the words a passer by said but I heard dad’s reply – ‘we’ve tried everything, the naughty step, time out, going to bed without dinner’. Pregnancy hormones made me want to go and slap him. The kid wanted attention and acknowledgement, to know the boring shopping trip would be over soon. I have no doubt though that the dad wasn’t frustrated too- I’ve been shopping enough times with my bored tired toddler and nearly hit the roof (the worst was smashing a glass bauble then kicking me as I tried to pick it up so ended up with a shard of glass in my hand and paying £12 for a monkey as I bled all over it!) so have sympathy for both.
Tonight, toddlerface pulled the best one yet and I felt helpless. Starting at nursery she wouldn’t put shoes on, or hand back her water bottle. After 15 minutes of both her key worker and I trying to persuade her to get her shoes on, explaining mummy can’t carry you and you’l hurt your feet, making it a game, trying to race, I relented and carried her out. She fought me as soon as we got to the car, and wouldn’t get in. I offered her cuddles on the driver’s seat, so in we got. After five minutes of explaining I couldn’t drive with her on my lap I got out and tried to get her in her car seat. Got her out the car, still crying/screaming but refusing all touch. Tried to lift her in, but she kicked my bump so hard I nearly dropped her. Two nursery workers and 10 minutes later and my sobbing child had willingly let herself be strapped in.
I felt helpless. She was tired but I had to get her home to be able to do anything about it. She’d kicked me so I wasn’t feeling particularly kindly as I was hurting already and was worried about the bump. She was crying and I wanted to comfort her but if I touched her she screamed louder and writhed away from me. I was frustrated, embarassed, worried, heartbroken and most of all just wanted to cuddle my baba.
10 minutes in the car meant sleep and still snoring three hours later, in mummy’s bed as she slept from screaming and I want her to know I’m here for her. Unfortunately we’re up early tomorrow again as I have to work but after that I’m done and we can have lazier mornings.
The most frustrating is how she was that morning. Such a delight, then I come home to a distraught, angry, tired baba who just doesn’t know what to do with herself or what she wants anyone else to do. All these big emotions and no way to deal with them bar scream. Poor baba. Here’s to a good night with mummy