Over the last few months, spending time with various family and friends and their young kids, I’ve noticed a few behavioural patterns. There have been tantrums galore; screaming, crying, shouts of ‘GO AWAY!’ and ‘No that’s MINE!’ and ‘I will NOT share!’. Toys have been thrown, fuses have blown and little fists have pounded the floor.
In the midst of all this, you’ll find me, breathing a sigh of relief and thinking thank goodness.
I’m so glad it’s not just my toddler who does this. I’m so relieved it’s not a reflection of how we’ve been bringing him up; that sometimes he’s shrieking and cross and bad-tempered. Because every single one of these kids, who’ve mastered the art of the fake cry or the stamping feet, have awesome parents. Parents who are mindful of their kids’ manners, mortified when they will not stop screaming and are as keen as we are for their kids to be kind, caring and sharing.
But oh what a pain it must be, to be two or three and constantly told to share this, pass that, give that over here. It’s a daily battle and one we’re all trying to strike a balance with. It is pretty unfair to be told to hand over your favourite car or crayons or play-doh pot, because some other kid has set their heart on it. It’s also hard to witness your child snatching things back, screaming ‘It’s MINE!’ and glowering with their fists clenched. It’s embarrassing. But we’re all in the same boat. And these kids who make us want to hide away until the shouting’s stopped, are the same kids who give us giant bear hugs and fall asleep in our arms. They are funny and sweet and mischievous and endearing.They ask questions like ‘Mummy, if we go too high in the sky will we bang our heads?’ and make us burst out laughing in the supermarket by exclaiming ‘LOOK at that giant apple!’ whilst pointing at a roast chicken. They leave our hearts fit to bursting twenty times a day with the things they say, watching them play (when they’re playing nicely) and the sound of their laughter. Actually, just by being here.
Last week started with Zach shouting from his room ‘Go AWAY Mummy, I don’t like you want Daddy!’ and ended on Friday with him declaring, as we waited for a train, ‘Mummy I don’t LIKE the sun (?), I love you as big as the sky.’ My heart burst a little bit and I grinned like a fool. We then went to a cafe where he screamed the place down for the sake of a toy car. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. I totally won that day with declarations of love from my boy. Even if I did lose the car present battle and let him open it before we got home. Anything for a coffee in peace – though at that point I wished it was gin.