**This is the blog post that I wrote before the news of the MEN arena attack, it means a little more to me now. I will also take this opportunity to remind you to look at the Manchester Bee Bunting pattern, well you can’t look at the pattern as such until you have donated to The British Red Cross.**
This morning I read a FB post that I really needed (I may have cried a little too) so I am going to tell you a little story that might just help one parent out there.
The Hellions are little angels when we are out and about, oh the times I have been approached and told how nice it is to see such well behaved children, people have enthused over how they say “please” and “thank you” without being prompted. I do wander the supermarket saying “Be aware of other people”, “The next thing you touch you have for lunch”, and “If you start me now I will leave you to be raised by toilet roll”, but for the most part they do me proud. At parents evening I am informed that both of my beloved Hellions are a dream to teach, one is not academic in the slightest but oh how she can create and she tries (at school).
AT home things are different, very different. You see, when The Clone was four she had her first temper tantrum, I had told her that I would leave her dinner on the table in case she did want it later and she kicked right off. I thought to myself “lets nip this in the bud” and ignored the tantrum, don’t feed the monster and it will go away, ye right, that first tantrum lasted four hours, I got so frustrated that I phoned Crochet Widower at work, a few times, but when ever I phoned she would stop (there is a story about CW’s frustration, a barrel being kicked, and a broken toe), the living room door was slammed to much it came off it’s hinges, that’s fight she pulled the screws right out of the wood work.
This was not the last or longest tantrum, over the last five years they got longer and more frequent, I would ask for her to tidy up for lunchtime and she would run outside and scream for six hours straight, she progressed to screaming at Geek Girl any time she was asked to do anything. I tried every trick in the book, ignore the bad reward the good, sticker charts for doing chores, lists, chill out spot (you get her to stay there), we had a gem jar that worked the longest, but everything I tried stopped working after a couple of weeks. I asked school for help “well that’s not what she’s like here” in a disbelieving tone and no help at all, not even the suggestion of trying something I had tried, I tried family therapy “She screams because you do” with a “so there” face, despite the fact that I didn’t scream, shout, or throw glasses at people (Yes, she threw a glass at Geek Girl, it missed), I took her to the doctors in tears (after the glass incident) begging for help, they gave me a weak cup of tea, observed the angel child and sent us back home, I even got social services involved, that was the nicest month of my life. A lady would visit school and home once a week, she talked to both kids, she talked to both parents, she brought treats for The DOGta Donna, she decided all was fine and suggested parenting classes.
For the last two years I have given up asking for help, I have blamed myself, blamed Crochet Widower, blamed school, tried sticker charts, used phone apps, enforced hugs, and come to a conclusion. The Clone does not know when she is tired, we have never had the usual problems at bedtime, I say “time for bed” and off they go to bed and either Hellion is asleep within half an hour. Mornings are another story, The Clone has never stayed asleep past five thirty, not with any degree of regularity at least, we tried black out curtains, clocks with “morning” highlighted, late nights, early nights, the alphabet game (girls names/food/superheros beginning with each letter of the alphabet), nothing worked. We had days filled with tantrums until she fell asleep on the couch (little bit for when she’s grown; she drools in her sleep, she wakes up looking like Anna in Frozen) and ever time this happened we had a chat that the tantrums are caused by being tired and when I say that next time she’ll agree and go for a nap “Oh yes, I see that now mummy” and next time she tantrums that she is not tired and I am just being horrid and why can’t she eat a sharing bag of skittles while I make tea.
Recently The Clone has still been asleep when I get up most mornings, the tantrums are rare now and short, OK every other day and ten min at a time, they are at “normal” nine year old levels and that I can handle, but Saturday was a killer. Crochet Widower was away on his boys weekend watching motor racing and pretending that he’s not hurtling towards forty. I though a half hour late night would be OK, it’s summer after all and I didn’t want to interrupt the adventures. The Clone was awake early and I heard her open the bedroom door bang on seven when my alarm went off to take my medication, she must have been stood at the door waiting for that alarm to be there so quick. Queue normal fights with Geek Girl over TV, cereal, and the best spot to sit, then I had the audacity to ask The Clone to wear a different pair of trousers as teh shorts she had on were A) two years to small and B) showing her neathers, this lead to half an hour of “I don’t have any other clothes (I went through her wardrobe showing her clothes, apparently none of the five pairs of jeans are good enough), then she kicked off about not being allowed to go to the corner shop that is too far (and a rip off), we then had to go to the super market to buy contact lens solution to make slime (the one we needed was the most expensive obviously) so all was calm for a bit, but a small kerfuffle happened regarding some money the had to be spent NOW despite there being nothing she actually wanted to buy, but we made it home and I made slime
The Hellions and Wolfie have since kneaded it to be less sticky but there was a hairy moment there where I thought it would be unusable.
After slime and lunch another tantrum broke out and I really can’t remember what the problem was this time but it did involve “you hate me and wish I was dead, you are blaming me for being a person” and the like then threats of phoning daddy until she realized she had used all of her phone allowance calling her BFF at bedtime and streaming youtube at the park, so I handed her my phone. Crochet Widower told her she was tired, but apparently that was a load of rubbish until she fell asleep five min later while I was talking to him.
The Clone has agreed that when she has a tantrum it is probably because she is tired and will have a nap when I suggest it next time, one time that will be true, maybe this time. But for now I am taking tantrums as a sign that I am a good parent, if I didn’t ask her to tidy up, or expect her to at least look at healthy food, or give restrictions on how far from home she can go, or expect her to wear more than underwear in the street, or weather appropriate clothing, if I didn’t expect her to treat Geek Girl nicely, or share the TV, or any of the million things she tantrums about and let her do dangerous things, or things that will lose her friends (that’s a complicated one but you know what I mean) she would never have a tantrum, but she would not be safe, she would not learn how to look after herself, and she would not be healthy, so for now I will cry, I will lose sleep, and I will read this blog post to remind me that I am a good parent, and I will look at my beautiful, funny, clever, creative baby when she is a grown up and see all of the amazing things she can do and it will all be worth it.
P.S yes I made myself cry.