I just had one of those encounters that no mum likes to have. It was with my darker side. A mainly lovely morning of pottering around together and getting some errands done just ended up with me ignoring the pitiful cries of the Tinkerous Toddler in the back of the car.
The sunshine filled morning we were having started to descend into toddler high-jinx just after I took the decision for us to stay out for a spot of lunch. One minute TT was keen to have pizza, the next she was veering towards a Peppa Pig amusement car and not stopping for anyone or anything, least of all me. The scream she let out as I caught her was both loud and piercing. I did the calm, rational mother thing (you know, acted out the part!) and normal service was resumed.
Next, my vision of a lovely mummy and daughter lunch together failed to come to fruition. TT was more intent on climbing, wriggling and generally avoiding eating anything more than the crusts of the pizza. To the point where I asked for a takeaway box and gave up on finishing the darned thing. I wanted to feel my tummy getting full of pizza, all I could feel was my stress level rising.
The final straw came as we got back to our car and in the split second it took me to open her door and usher her in, she bypassed her seat and flung herself into the drivers seat. Now the car has been ours for only a couple of weeks and the sheer excitement of a new car is still plain to see on her little face. But all I wanted to do was get her in her seat, get into the drivers seat and get home.
Every time I asked her to get back into her seat, she leaned back with both hands on the steering wheel and said “no” whilst giggling and giving me her cheekiest look from over her shoulder. I tried the calm measured request, the firm and forceful request. I even tried shouting the request, well that was involuntary, as by that point I’d had enough.
I frog marched myself round to the drivers door, fished her out and bundled her into her car seat. She wasn’t happy. She had gone from ecstatic and full of the joys to miserable as sin. But that part was kind of fair enough, she had just been a little minx! I got myself into the car and we headed off. Her cries got louder and louder and more sorrowful as we drove along.
The rational side of me wanted to calm her down and soothe her, she is only 2 and a bit after all. But the irrational side of me took over and I completely ignored her, pumped up the volume on the radio and stared intently at the road ahead. All. The. Way. Home. Not sure what came over me, it isn’t ‘that’ time of the month and all is well in my world. But for a few minutes I’d had enough.
The look she gave me when I turned round as we arrived outside our house said it all. “I love you mummy, I don’t understand what just happened”. I know I am only human, I can’t get it right all of the time. But the thing to remember is that she is only human too. She was testing the boundaries, seeing what she could get away with. Just being a toddler really. But instead of reacting like an adult, I just threw a tantrum all of my own. Not big. Not clever. Must try harder next time.
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