Ok here is why, i woke up with less than 45mins to get two girls, who between them don't want to brush their teeth. eat breakfast(that doesn't involve doughnut) or get dressed, up, dressed and having breakfast to make it to take Ellie to nursery for 9am, a task which on our other days takes me at least two hours and is not stressful and rushed and we don’t need to be out till after 10. Actually we don’t NEED to be out at all THAT is the key to it all. I then took a child saying 'I don't want to go', to nursery where I felt compelled to say "pretend I am not here because we are doing this so you get used to me dropping you off and then coming back for you later" when really I want to say 'ok, lets go home then". Then watch her run off without looking back and me having to stay in another room listening for signs of distress whilst trying to pick up after a two year old in a cornucopia of toys. Then knowing I would have to rush back to catch the health visitor, who was arriving at same time as nursery finishes because I forget to let her know we would be late, to defend my parenting, sorry to discuss my parenting and ‘bring her up to speed’.
Anyway, it turned out she was running late too so that worked out beautifully. I decided the best thing for me to do was to be keeping busy whilst talking to her and our lunch needed making, life goes on. So whilst I was making pumpkin, carrot and lentil soup with the girls running in every few minutes to help by opening stock cubes and plopping them in, or cutting potato or putting veggies into the water, she was asking me if the girls were eating healthily. She exclaimed that she would NEVER have let her child use a knife at that age, I pointed out that this was not the first time Ellie had used a knife (she is not dead yet Grow Slow Sunday Herald 2008) and that since she had been attached to me since birth, and seeing me doing this very same task over and over and had progressed through plastic, butter and onto ‘proper’ knife, she was fully equipped with the knowledge and skills in order to perform these everyday necessary, being part of the family type things. Likewise being around hot water and cookers hence the lack of ‘be careful that’s hot’ type comments that were flying out of her aghast mouth.
Next she brought up the subject of boundaries to which I mentioned natural consequences to which she replied with the inevitable. In fact before she even had the chance to respond with the inevitable I countered with “Its very common when looking at this kind of parenting for people to automatically go for the OMG BUT WHAT IF THEY WERE TO RUN ON THE ROAD OR PICK UP A LOADED GUN type scenario” In reality though, I am not actually going to allow my child to maim or kill themselves, because well, BECAUSE I AM NOT A MORON. Well I didn’t really say that.
Look I said to her in as open and calm as way as possible, I have had these children attached to me since birth, I have maintained my connection with them and still intend to maintain my connection with them for as long as I can. They understand about the world, age appropriate, because I have been with them and explaining to them exactly what is going on and how things happen and why since birth and frankly how can attachment possibly be a bad thing, compared to say….unparenting where the parent just sits watching TV all day NOT interacting with their child much.
I try to parent without using coercion, threats, bribery and sometimes I manage!
We briefly talked about the Triple P parenting Course she had been asked to talk to me about by the SS but it turns out that its not in their remit and so she knows nothing about it and doesn’t offer it at her practice. I said I had looked online and frankly whilst some of it was interesting and (obvious) I was not about to start using time out or any other punitive discipline technique and IF I did go on the course, I would most likely disrupt it with my own views and if it was during the day, my kids would need to come too and they would disrupt it even more. She laughed knowingly.
Interestingly when I asked her how much of it was actually MY choice to go on the course she didn’t have a straight answer for me but the fact that I was happy for her to come over was a positive sign, meaning if I had refused and even though the SS had specifically stated it was my choice for the course, I could have been in for a whole more world of trouble. AND even though the SS said they were having no more involvement, she said she was going to speak to them and....and....and...anyway
I dispatched her with the Alfie Khon Unconditional Parenting and we had our lunch on the floor on a towel infront of the TV.
After lunch, we set about going to support our friend at her jewellery launch but once in the car were beset with meltdowns on all fronts. It turned out, after stopping the car and finding out exactly why Ellie was screaming and flailing, that she was upset because Maia was wearing the hat she had on. The hat Maia always wears, because Ellie wanted to have it as a spare when the one she was wearing got wet. When I pointed out that I understood her upset and that Maia was actually wearing that hat and she would be upset if Ellie took it, she wailed and stated that when she was unplugged from her seat she was going to grab the hat of Maia’s head. See, sometimes, car seats are not the devil!! When Ellie had sufficiently calmed down enough for me to continue driving, we made our way with occasional grumblings of grabbing and askings of would she would be happy to have something grabbed off her. We arrived with an agreement, that since the hats probably would not get that wet, we would stick with the ones we had on. THEN, between getting out of the car and walking to the venue, about 3feet something happened…I can’t be entirely sure what and it may well just have been a culmination of a very rushed and stressful day (or doughnut for breakfast), anyway Ellie had a spectacular meltdown which was made worse by me trying to have said meltdown inside the sports centre rather than in the rain or right next to the smokers corner. So I manage to move everyone inside whilst trying to figure out exactly what the problem was. It was really a lost cause, I had no clue, she was screaming, I couldn’t understand her, then she was roaring and saying ‘lets go home, I don’t want to be here’. I decided to just sit. Maia crawled about the seating area whilst Ellie screamed and I sat. I was aware of the staff behind the counter but I was mostly focused on not making the meltdown worse by attempting to touch or speak! Then the phone rang and the woman behind the counter got nippy with me and asked me to make her stop - HA!!! Then several staff went ‘shh’ and to my dismay I used the ‘Ellie the woman on the phone can’t hear’ line. I wish I hadn’t, simply because I feel it makes Ellie think that woman’s phonecall is more important than Ellie’s feelings. Anyway it was distraction enough and as quick as it had started, Ellie suddenly stopped and we were on our way minus shoes, a small concession in my eyes.
The jewellery launch was a fraught affair, simply because she wasn’t keen on us touching the stuff, even though they were being careful and knew it was delicate, even though I was crawling on the floor at their height and looking at the things with them, even though I was taking extra care to make sure they were taking extra care…it was too difficult so we got grandma’s present and left.
Home sweet home…sort of, because Maia who had now been woken from two falling asleeps decided not to have her afternoon shloph and spent the rest of the day oscillating between being upset and wanting milk, so not much was done.
BUT for a change, dinner was actually made! Well ok, half was made, half was oven cooked from the freezer already made, but THAT in my book is enough!
Anyway, Its all kind of ironic because I spend my entire life encouraging Ellie and Maia to discuss their feelings and talk about what is bothering them rather than suppressing hitting pushing kicking grabbing or screaming the place down in the vain hope that they can find ways to deal with their emotions in an effective, affective and healthy manner in the future and to help them see that what they say and do matters WHEN most of the time it feels like I am keeping all MY real thoughts and feelings suppressed….hence the phrase ‘you don’t want to know’
Meltdowns - several
Losing the Plot - 0
Breastfeeding - obviously!