It’s a familiar scene. You’ve probably even witnessed it today if you’ve been on the tube or train or bus; especially if you’re anywhere near Waterloo… Two people arguing, one trying to remain calm, the other just shouting and getting louder as if volume is the winning point to all disagreements; both desperately trying to get that final word in and, yes, WIN! Until, eventually, Mr Slightly-More-Calm explodes too and the whole thing deteriorates into a flurry of ill-chosen insults that make playground teasing look like two old dears gently quarrelling over a game of Bridge:
“ARRRRGGGGHHHH, YOU KNOW YOU BASHED INTO ME YOU STUPID SPUNK PUDDING!”
“YEAH, WELL, FUCK YOU… YOU… YOU… BABOON’S TURD!”
It’s fair to assume that outside of this argument those two people – we’ll call them Mr Lycra Cyclist and Mr Phone Starer (I don’t know why… it just feels appropriate…) are more than likely, in their everyday lives, absolutely lovely, family adoring, funny chaps who will, once the whole thing is over, hang their head in shame and embarrassment (well, Mr Lycra Cyclist probably won’t. But you get my point) and pray that no one caught the whole thing on their phone to post on Social Media with the likely tag – Two strangers go at it hammer and tongs and not in a sexy kinky way.
You see, even the most rational of people can sometimes lose it and find themselves behaving in a manner that they would ordinarily deem beneath them. We all lose our shit sometimes. Never more so than when you have a toddler. Today for example I have been screamed at, slapped, and closed-fist punched (which, by the way I had to stop myself from saying “well done” as it was the most impressive thing and makes me excited for her MMA future). This is even worse when you understand that I had only just come back from having an X Ray at the hospital and hadn’t even said anything yet. Apparently, having Mummy not let you have any elderflower cordial is reason enough to kick the shit out of Daddy – Hit Girl style
I love her warrior spirit. But the bruises are starting to show…
It’s easy to understand why she lost it like this. And to be honest it’s one of only a few times she’s done it. One of the others being in Waitrose when I wouldn’t buy her a Cbeebies magazine. I just smiled at her through it all until the check out lady intervened by saying, “perhaps you should just get her one?” to which Moo, quite brilliantly said, with palms turned upwards, head tilted and a shrug of the shoulders, “you see Daddy? Told you”.
I didn’t cave in though, you’ll be impressed to know. Instead I took her to a coffee shop and when she’d calmed down a bit she convinced me to buy her a Paw Patrol toy…
She’s a fucking Jedi!
No, it’s easy to understand really as she’s a bright girl with a lot of language and huge amounts of emotions coursing through her which she has no way of understanding yet. She’s also had to deal with M.o.M going back to work this week and a new found inability to sleep. Which, by the way, is so unbelievably fucking rude of her.
99% of the time she’s the most gentle 2 and 1/2 year old who shows massive amounts of empathy and awareness.
How do I handle the bad angry Moo though? Up until recently – bloody terribly. We’re as thick as thieves me and Moo and so when we’re good with each other all is right with the world, but when it goes awry there’s a dark, grumpy cloud that sits over us and affects all who come near us. I have screamed as loud as her. I have slammed doors too. I have shouted and tried to have the last word which usually ends up with me getting ridiculously tongue tied as I try in vain NOT to swear.
However, since M.o.M has gone back to work I have found myself having to find new ways of handling her and even more importantly – ME. I don’t know why but being alone with both the children has pushed me into a place of calm. I guess it helps that I am a control freak and that being alone actually frees me up to run things my way. So that makes me calmer. But, just holding her, repeatedly asking her to breathe deep and telling her I love her over and over again, works. Every time. If she lashes out? I gently put her down and stand back. Within a short few seconds she will want to be picked up and then she will bury her head into me and apologise through her tired, snotty nosed sobs. It’s hard. Really hard. But it works for us.
Moo’s idea to help stop the shouting was, and this is no word of a lie, if I shout I have to go outside and be chased by the Big Bad Mouse from the Gruffalo’s Child, and if SHE shouts she will be eaten by the Dragon from the Room on the Broom! Oh the temptation to threaten her with this…
So to link to my first point about Mr Cyclist and his battle with Mr Phone Starer. I guess perhaps they should just hold each other and breathe deep and tell each other they love each other… Mmmmm maybe not. Maybe’s it’s more about just developing a sense of calm, even when under vicious attack, all the while knowing that, ultimately, even the smallest person in our lives has emotions and worries that, to them at least, are absolutely huge; and they need our understanding and guidance to work through them.
PS If you’re wondering why I haven’t written about the boy yet, well, he’s basically just a bundle of smiles who is happy when his sister is singing at him and is, so far, the tranquil sea sitting amongst the dribbly Tempest that is Moo and me
We’ll see how that develops over the coming months…