Today was not a success in the history of my mothering successes. In fact, it’s fair to say that today was pretty much complete failure. It’s easy to write about the good stuff and the happy days but I think it’s important to talk about the difficult things too.
It started off with a lovely treat breakfast in South Kensington before my husband set off for a day of studying. The weather was so beautiful today so I decided to head straight for Hyde Park and take the kids to the playground. My first rookie mistake was that I only brought the single pushchair with me. Of course, neither of them wanted to walk so this was the first screaming session and things just went from bad to worse.
When we finally got to the playground, they had fun on the swings and slide for a bit but the meltdowns just kept coming. I was planning to stay out and make a day of it but they were already both saying they wanted to go home! They don’t make the decisions but in this case I felt like it would be best for us all if we just headed home.
It took a while to find the right bus but once we did it was actually a pretty pleasant journey. For the most part, they were happy enough looking out of the window and pressing the stop button (over and over again).
We got off the bus and made the short walk home. I decided some down time was in order so I put a film on for them while I collapsed with a bowl of cereal in the hallway. By this point, it was only 2pm and still lovely outside so I planned to let them go out on their scooters for a bit after the film. They would be happier and calmer by then, right?
Time to get shoes and coats on and George (aged 4) was protesting quite firmly. He lashed out and threw an umbrella, luckily not hitting anyone in the process. I kept calm and proceeded to get them out of the door thinking that we would talk about it in the open space rather than right then and there.
We scooted to the local park which was uneventful. Once we got there, they headed straight for the swings and I assumed my usual position of double swing pusher. I decided that things were quite calm and I should really address with George what happened before we left. I spoke to him calmly and asked him to think about what happened and if he needed to say anything to me. He said he didn’t. So I told him he would need to think again before he was able to get out of the swing. (Was that the wrong thing to do? I didn’t want to threaten him, just make him have some thinking time.)
He continued to be defiant and took it upon himself to climb out of the swing and fell straight on his head. Well, that was it. I comforted him a lot, obviously, because it looked like it really hurt. He wasn’t just sad though, he was angry. Angry with me for forcing him to get himself out of the swing and causing him to hurt himself. Once again, our park trip came to abrupt end and we headed home.
They both want to stand on their scooters and have me pull them which is fine for Sophie but George is really old enough to just scoot, plus it’s hard to pull them both at the same time.
George screamed the ENTIRE way and so was even more angry once we got through the door. Then things really got bad. I told him to take his shoes off then go to his bedroom for a few minutes to have some quiet thinking time. He didn’t want to do this of course, so I carried him gently upstairs and sat him on his bed.
I got to the bottom of the stairs and the next thing I knew, there was a book flying towards me. I looked up and he was just standing upstairs looking pleased with himself. I tried to talk to him calmly and send him back to his room.
Once I got back downstairs, out he came armed with more book ammunition and started hurling them straight at me. Whatever I said to him, he just wouldn’t stop. His face was so determined to hurt me he just kept on coming. I picked him up to take him back upstairs and then he started punching and pinching me, really hard. I got him back to his room and he shouted, with real venom in his voice, “Mummy I hate you!”
This carried on for what seemed like hours. I actually felt scared. How pathetic does that sound? I literally could not control my own child and it was such a horrible feeling. It stopped, eventually, as these things always do in the end.
I ended up just cuddling him. He didn’t know what he was feeling or why he was feeling it. He doesn’t hate me or want to make me cry. He needed me to hold him in my arms and stroke his hair while he shouted and cried, so that’s what I did. Was there a piece of me that wanted to just not be near him right then? A part of me that felt justified in not being very kind or loving towards him right then? Yes and yes! BUT I’m his mum and those things are not the kind of mum I want to be. Of course, he needs to know that his behaviour is definitely not ok. I made that clear and there was a consequence for his actions. I love him unconditionally and have to show him that, even in these impossible moments. He has to feel safe and secure in my arms. He has to know that I want to help him feel better always, no matter what.
George is a wonderfully kind, considerate, thoughtful, caring, sensitive little boy and I am so proud to be his Mum. Today he pushed me to the limit and I saw a side to him that I haven’t seen before. It wasn’t nice and I hope it doesn’t happen often, but it’s ok.
I’ve signed up to George and Sophie for life, and I’m so happy about it.