Sunday, April 1, 2012

Are we normal?

I need to rant before I explode.

Can someone with a child at least slightly older than 3 years and 2 months please write to me and tell me that it's a crazy age but it does get better. I don't mean someone with a child who had a couple of tantrums aged 2 1/2 but soon grew out of them. You can just get back to your wonderful life with your perfect child, in your no doubt perfectly clean and tidy house and wallow in your own self-smugness, keeping your la-la rose-tinted fairyland opinions to yourself. (I warned you it was a rant.) We don't need to hear from the likes of you, thank you very much. If indeed you do exist. And I very much hope that if you do you are a very rare breed. No, I'm hoping to hear from a vast swathe of almost insane (but not quite) mothers telling me that my children are normal. Or at least as normal as pre-schoolers and babies can ever hope to be.

I had a vague glimmer of hope after catching up with a couple of my mums group friends and being told by one that when her daughter is tired and feral she poos on the garage floor. Then she approaches her mum and says "Guess what, Mummy. I did a poo on the floor." And her mum says, "oh god, you didn't. Where?" and she sniggers and runs off.

See, that's the kind of mum I want to hear from. But preferably one with a slightly older child who has matured beyond this crazy behaviour and can say with reasonable confidence that it was a phase (isn't everything?) but that thankfully it is now over and said child seems quite normal and almost human.

I think everything is magnified for me at the moment as I am doing about 70-80% of the care of our children. Which is normal for most mothers. But I'm not most mothers so let's not dwell. And I'm quite sure there are a few of you out there with more, or crazier, or whatever children reading this and thinking "oh my god, hark at her whinging. She doesn't know how easy she's got it." But hold ye tongue and bear with... all is relative, is it not?

So, here are a few of the things that my gorgeously sweet, cute, clever and funny little Miss Chief drove me insane with today.
  • Rubbing glitter from a picture all over the floor then sticking her hand in it so she can spread it around elsewhere.
  • Refusing to sleep. Or be quiet.
  • Asking for a wipe and when asked why admitted it was to wipe up her own wee from the carpet. But it was "just a little bit".
  • Drawing all over the outdoor table in (thankfully washable) felt tip pen. (And at some point when I wasn't looking drawing on our very expensive security screen door.)
  • Being overly rough with her brother, including pushing him off a little ride-on toy she was pushing him around on and then telling me he fell. And hitting him with a stick. Yesterday she hit him on the head with a garden broom I'd just bought for her for being good in the supermarket. Why do kids do that? You reward them for being good and they take it as a signal to start being naughty again. I'm really not convinced the whole positive reinforcement method of discipline works.
  • Gluing the table instead of the bit of cardboard I instructed her to glue whilst we were making a cardboard Easter bunny. Why can't these things just be fun and induce togetherness like they're supposed to?
  • Unraveling a roll of toilet paper onto the floor in order to get the cardboard insert, because I wasn't sure where I'd put the one I'd already found for her, when she was supposed to be picking her pens up off the floor whilst I looked for the original roll, or another already used one. And might I also add there was in fact another used one on the floor right behind where she was standing whilst she unraveled the one currently in use.
  • Blowing raspberries, not to be funny but to be defiant.
  • Shouting.
  • Crying.
  • Spitting at the dinner table. Isn't it funny how the mind works? See this was the last straw and she was pulled from the table (after a few warnings, I hasten to add), shoved in the shower and taken immediately to bed. We hardly ever do that so she must have been doing some really naughty things before this to induce such a reaction. But I can't remember what they were. Hence, it has just dawned upon me that I will get no replies from almost insane mothers of formerly-crazy-but-now-nearly-normal children because they probably have very little memory of the crazy period and have in fact now placed themselves in the former category of smug parents of perfect kids who had a couple of tantrums but not much else. Ho hum.
  • Dangling her feet over my chair at the dinner table. Doesn't sound like much but it's really annoying especially when your husband is simultaneously kicking cats at you.
  • Taking Happy One's toys away from him.
  • Waking me up.
I suppose her behaviour hasn't really been that bad. In all honesty I'm so tired I can't even remember what it was that got me so irked. That list really isn't that bad. I must have missed something off. I've certainly had much worse days. Just last week my Facebook status referred to my day being like a sit-com. It was a comedy of errors. I can barely remember it now although the standout moment was Chief not wanting to miss a film she was watching so standing up and weeing on her fold-out sofa. There was so much of it that as I carried the sofa onto the tiles to clean it up I ended up with little puddles of wee all over both the carpet and the tiles.

Today she helped me clean up both her wee and her pen marks. I think what really got to me was that it took me so darn long to do anything. If one of them wasn't getting into something then the other was. Happy One found immense interest in any body of stagnant water he could find in the garden, of which there are a few after all the rain we've had. So hanging the washing out took an age as I had to keep running in the house to wash his hands and then figure out how to disperse of said water. Not to mention the fact that he did about 3 poos (in cloth nappies, people).

But the good things that happened today were awesome. In particular Happy One took his first steps with a walker. We almost missed it. I was making the bunny up at the table with Chief and looked up to see him toddling off through the garden. How cool.

And Chief made up a great song on her piano. We'd been playing a game in the garden where she sold rocks and I bought them for leaves, twigs or pegs. A twig was worth 10 leaves and a peg 10 twigs. The rocks started off at 3 leaves each and ended up at 1 peg each. Which is a bit steep but she did give me a discount. And I noticed the quality and size of the rock was considerably improved. Anyway, she made up a groovy little song about playing with the rocks. Of course I'm so sleep deprived I can't remember it now.

I think I need a new label/tag. I'll call it madness. Or "maternal insanity". Or "extreme memory loss caused by sleep deprivation and constant parenting". Or "ug". I'm off to eat a hot cross bun and watch some mind-numbing crime thriller.

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