Before I was a mum, I had an idea that MY experience of parenting would be a rosy one. I naively assumed that others who had difficult days were probably “doing it wrong” and that there was ALWAYS a solution to a problem – and I would instantly know that solution.
I wish I could go back in time and have a word with myself. What an idiot.
I’ve been lucky enough to be graced with a beautiful, independent, hilarious, clever, quick witted child. Who is also somewhat of a diva. I say “somewhat”. I mean “very much”.
In my clear-headed moments, I know that my toddler is the double of me in terms of personality. I was a pretty high maintenance child (my mother tells me with glee). I didn’t sleep through the night until the age of five. I had epic tantrums. I didn’t like water in my eyes when I had my hair washed. I was scared of hoovers and motorbikes. I liked to have an audience. I played up to all of the above. Every. Single. Day.
My own daughter is very similar. She is touchy around certain noises – she’s terrified of the log burner, to the point she’ll sit in the freezing cold dining room on her own for three whole hours until bedtime. She’s quick to tantrum. She likes an audience. She likes things her own way. Every. Single. Day.
Obviously, some of these points are just standard toddler behaviour. But others are just her.
I like that she’s spirited, but sometimes that spirit equates to walking on egg shells. On a day when she wakes ridiculously early and refuses to sleep, for example, I know a huge tantrum is only seconds away. It’s like living with a coiled spring which is set to snap at any moment. Exhausting.
Since the beginning of January, I’ve settled into a better working pattern, which has made me happier and more prone to err on the side of patience, even in the middle of the hugest toddler screaming session ever known. My husband, on the other hand, has been struggling.
Today started for him at 1am. He bounced out of bed as our two year old cried over a bad dream. Then, at 3am, he bounced out of bed again, eager to get to Frog before she woke me up due to another bad dream. At 5.30am, when she was screaming and shouting and having a tantrum because it wasn’t time to get up yet, he gave in.
The rest of the day has been spent in a bit of an egg shell manner. I’ve been attempting to be the beacon of calm in tempestuous waters, as my tired diva child throws tantrum after tantrum because she can’t eat a neverending supply of chocolate / paint the walls purple / have Daddy’s computer / play with her friends at nursery / go and live with her grandparents in Devon. The (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine has been battling tiredness with a lack of patience and trying ever so hard to bite his tongue when the anger bubbles to the surface and he feels the need to shout.
It hasn’t been the best.
I just wish I could bottle today and cast it out to sea, throw it away and draw a line underneath it.
Parenting – it’s not ALWAYS crayons and kisses. Sometimes it’s just bloody hard work.