Quasimondo Devil Child
Me and my big mouth. ‘My daughter used to have tantrums, but she’s over that now.’ You think I’d learn wouldn’t you. The red mist has been returning more frequently over the last few weeks, little patterns creeping back in again. Take Sunday. You know Sunday, right? The day of rest, peace and quiet?
9.30am. The gentle beginning.
Miss L:‘I don’t waaaant to go for a walk.’ Whinged.
Me: ‘Ok, we’ll stay at home then.’ Why am I giving in? I want to get some fresh air,the sun is shining, it’s Sunday and I want the papers.
Miss L:‘But I waaaant to go to the shop’. Shouted. Throws self on floor.
Me: ‘Well get your shoes on then.’
Miss L: ‘I don’t waaaant to put my shoes on’. Cries. Writhes about on floor.
Try to stay calm. Breath. You can still recover this. Quick, distract her.
Me: ‘If you get your shoes on now, and there’s no more mucking about, you can take your scooter.’
Momentary silence whilst she mulls the offer over.
Miss L:‘I want to wear thooooose shoes’ Points to high heeled, open toe-d, Belle sling backs.
Me: ‘No. Put your proper shoes on.’
Miss L:‘Noooooo.’ Crying steps up a gear, arms start flayling, feet kicking the wall.
After much ‘ignoring’ (or pretending to ignore) on my part and wrestling of feet, we make it to the driveway with proper shoes on.
Baby P is waiting there for us. All happy, bopping about pointing at her big sister; ‘Crying. Crying. Crying.’
9.45am. The fatal mistake.
Miss L:‘I want to take my scooter.’
Me:‘No, not after that behaviour.’
Miss L:‘Noooooooooo’ Screams. Really screams. Ear splitting screaming. Neighbours coming to the windows to check what’s happened kind of screaming. Involuntary spitting kind of screaming. Looks a bit mental kind of screaming.
9.47am. The point of no return.
Me: ‘Right. That’s it. We’ll stay at home,you guys go on.’
Incredibly she finds a higher, louder pitch getting redder, furious, scratchy throat screams.
I lift the thrashing four year old off the pavement, arms and legs everywhere, and carry her into the house.
I go and lie on my bed and switch on Hollyoaks omnibus, volume up to 35 to try and drown out the screaming.
Five minutes pass. Still screaming. Angry,angry screaming.
And I lie there thinking, could I have turned that around? Should I have said she could wear her heels and scoot? Was it worth this?
Should I go in now and tell her it’s all going to be fine? That I’ll carry her to the shops and buy her chocolate when we get there? That it’s ok to hit Mummy, it really wasn’t that sore anyway? Would that be the better move?
At the time I think of all the things that I could have done differently. I’m a Mum of two halves. For the most part I am consistent, give clear boundaries, praise positive behaviour and say when behaviour is not on. The other part of me wants an easy life, no fussing and is tempted by the path of least resistance.
Don’t hold a grudge. That’s what ‘they’ say. Once it’s done, leave it, kiss and make up and move on. But it pisses me off, makes me sad. She looks hurt afterwards,embarrassed even and we don’t talk much as I strip the bed linen. But when I do dig deep and offer some conversation, she grasps at it, desperate to make it up to me. She can see the tears waiting in my eyes. And I feel better. Better that I could swallow my anger and hurt, have a big squeezy hug, smile and be a good Mum after all.