Well life has certainly got away from me over the last few weeks; I can’t believe that we are already at half term. The last few weeks have gone by in a blur of getting up, dressed, breakfast, out the house for school, doing my day job, rushing home to pick the girls up, then swimming, food shopping, book reading, tea cooking, laundry doing, pack lunch making, bath time, bed time and then me lying face down on the sofa in a state of complete exhaustion!
In between all of this the terrible two’s have hit our house in a big way. CJ is developing into a playful, cheeky, loving little girl, but with this comes the steep learning curve that she can’t have everything her own way. She is also into everything! If she not tipping a box of 6 50 piece jigsaws on the floor, she is climbing on the table, emptying the bubble bath on the floor, picking the cat up by her tail, jumping on the sofa, running off or taking all the baby out the packet. She can often be found in ‘time out’ and the most commonly used phrases in our house at the moment are ‘CJ no, Mummy said no, now put the cat/snack basket/jigsaw/bubble bath, anything else she can get her little fingers on, down’ The selective hearing usually kicks in and so this is then closely followed by ‘CJ that behaviour is not ok’
But far worse than all mess she now makes is the tantrums. A word that will strike fear into heart of any parent with a toddler. There haven’t been many (yet!) but she can go from sweet to horrible in less than a second and will communicate her disapproval at the word ‘No’ in the most vocal and animated way possible.
So it came to be that during a recent trip to Sainsbury’s CJ could be found screaming, face down on the floor, myself and IK watching on. Now you might think that I would be embarrassed by this behaviour but actually on this occasion I wasn’t. You see firstly I have lived through this stage with IK and we both came out the other end relatively un-scathed so I have hope it won’t last forever. Secondly I understand that a tantrum is not necessarily her being badly behaved at her age it is really just an overflow of emotion. CJ is a strong willed little lady who is learning how to deal with life and trying to find where her boundaries are. When she doesn’t like those boundaries she can’t always cope with the flood of emotions that brings, so it overflows out of her in torrent she isn’t yet able to control. I’m sure we can all relate to how she is probably feeling, although for most adults it is not usually over a Peppa Pig magazine and I personally try to keep the face down screaming in Sainsbury’s to a minimum!
But that said, I will not be dictated to by a two year old, even if I do love her more than life itself. So it is my job to teach her that yes these emotions are difficult to deal with, but screaming / shouting / hair pulling are not the best ways to do this. That is hard for a two year old to understand so the only way I can communicated this with her is to try and ignore the negative behaviour and praise her on those occasions when she does listen or I do say no and she manages to carry on with life in more composed way.
However, the theory is great, but in practice some days my supply of patience is rather depleted and sometimes I’d quite frankly rather walk away and pretend the screaming child belongs to someone else. But this particular day I didn’t, IK and I stood there watching her, getting funny looks and the odd tut, then IK said the funniest thing ‘Mummy this is not ok is it!’ her tone exactly the same as mine (hardly surprising as I say it about 50 times a day). And I laughed ‘No IK it isn’t, but she is learning so we need to be patient with her, and she will stop soon’ which she did. Despite it feeling as though an hour of my life had passed it was probably less than two minutes. CJ stood up and looked at me, I asked her if she was finished, she said yes and we carried on with our day, without the Peppa Pig magazine that had started the whole thing.
So to those who’d tut whilst my littlest lady is behaving in this way I would say this:
‘I’m trying to bring this little person up to be a well mannered, well behaved, confident, thoughtful, happy young lady. I’m doing this incredibly difficult, demanding and emotional job, twice and alone. I don’t get it right every day and neither does she, but we are both trying our best to find our own way through the complicated journey of life. So I would ask for some patience and understanding, your dirty looks and tuts are as offensive to me as my child screaming is to you, so keep your opinions to yourself and if you really can’t…..just sod off!’