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Reasons My Children Cried Today

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It’s getting close to Christmas. And, of course, it’s getting close to the end of the year. It’s a funny time of year, this. And the kids are clearly feeling it. They are tired, school is wrapping up for the year, Christmas is fast approaching, and they are feeding off the stress inevitably coming from us parents as well.

Kids cry – it’s their way of dealing with things. Having three small kids means that some days, there just seems to be an endless stream of tears in my house. Today was one of those days.

Here are just some of the reasons my kids cried today.

  • I put jam on the toast before the peanut butter, not after.
  • I put peanut butter on the toast before the jam, not after.
  • Princess wanted to wear footless tights and I’d put out footed tights for her.
  • I put BabyGirl’s toast on the wrong plate.
  • It was raining
  • Princess didn’t want to wear a raincoat
  • The umbrella went up wrong
  • BabyGirl didn’t want to wear gumboots
  • BoyChild wanted to go in the car, not the pram
  • I opened the door
  • I closed the door
  • Princess wanted her hair in one ponytail, not two
  • It wasn’t Christmas tomorrow
  • It was raining
  • BoyChild wanted to sit in Princesses carseat
  • BabyGirl didn’t want to get into the car
  • BoyChild didn’t want to get out of the car
  • I opened the door
  • BabyGirl didn’t want to go in the pram
  • BoyChild wanted to go in the elevator
  • BoyChild wanted to press the button
  • BabyGirl wanted that drink
  • BoyChild wanted that muffin
  • BoyChild didn’t want to go to the toilet, despite needing to
  • BabyGirl didn’t want to sit on Santa’s knee
  • BoyChild didn’t want to sit on Santa’s knee
  • BoyChild didn’t want to leave the mall, he wanted to ride the elevator some more
  • BabyGirl wanted an apple
  • I cut the apple incorrectly
  • Babygirl wanted a banana
  • Princess wanted to carry her umbrella home
  • Princess’s friend called her “stuck in the mud”
  • There was an unfair distribution of popcorn and chippies
  • It was raining
  • It wasn’t Christmas yet
  • I wouldn’t let the girls play outside in the rain, without gumboots on
  • A birthday invitation had the birthday girl’s name on it, not Princess
  • I wouldn’t give Princess invitations for her birthday (in August)
  • BabyGirl and BoyChild got to see Santa today but Princess didn’t
  • I make Princess go to school
  • A Christmas card was wrong
  • Princess’s friend put a bell on her face
  • I wouldn’t let BabyGirl get into the shower with her tights on
  • I put too much bubble mixture in the bath
  • Princess’s friend left his backpack at our house
  • And a jumper
  • It’s not Christmas TODAY
  • It’s raining and its never going to stop raining EVER

Needless to say, there was a lot of sighing and silently counting by me, and a lot of cuddles and comforting pats on backs. All three kids are fast asleep now, no doubt dreaming of Christmas and rainy days.

And me? Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow is another day.

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Tantrums: The Definitive Guide

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Ah, tantrums. One of the best parts of having kids. I mean, my kids certainly never throw them. This is purely from what I’ve observed of other kids.

Yea, I’m lying. Of course my kids throw the ol’ tanty. All normal kids do (she tells herself).

Tantrums come in all shapes and sizes, so I thought I would take the liberty of describing a few for you. You are most welcome.

The Leg Shaker

Ah, a personal fave. Read: not a personal fave. This one is particularly popular with the four-year-old-girl sector. It starts with a slight leg wobble, often before I’ve even finished saying ‘no’, or ‘probably not’. The whine builds up, in sync with the leg wobbling. From a slight “uhhhh” (leg shakes moderately) to a full blown “UUUHHHHHHHH”, complimented by the legs both shaking and stomping and, if we are particularly lucky, the arms join in too.

Sometimes a, “BUT MUUUUUUUUUUUU” is thrown in there for good measure.

The Terrible Twelve Months

You hear about the Terrible Twos. Why, oh-dear-lord WHY does no one talk about the Terrible Twelve Months?!

The toddler can walk, and knows what they want. But, they may not have the vocabulary to tell you what they want. So, they scream. And/or squeal. And point. And squeal. And then, for good measure, throw themselves onto the floor, spread-eagle like a reverse snow-angel, and go for it, buns blazing and limbs flaying. This one is relatively manageable, because said toddler is likely still small enough that (a) they can be lifted and removed from the situation, and (b) they can be distracted easily.

Toddler: screaming uncontrollably.

Mum: Look! Where’s Mumma? Boo! Boo!

Toddler: *giggles*

The Body Board

Ah, the Body Board. The plank. The “I’m going to make my body so incredibly stiff that you can’t move me. You can’t position me. You sure as heck can’t get me into that pram/highchair/car seat”.

Often silent – probably because all their energy goes into stiffening their body like a 2×4. Very, very difficult to maneuver. Leaving you with two choices – (a) force them to bend. (b) wait it out.

The Classic

Oh yes, the classic tantrum. The one that gives tantrums a bad name. The one that you will endure at least once in your career as a parent. Most likely when it is least convenient for you. Some really neat places for the Classic to take place – a library. A supermarket. A small boutique shop in a rich area. When you happen to be walking past someone you know. Like your ex. Or your employer.

This one is a free for all, a no-holds-barred event. There will be yelling, there will be crying, there will be grabbing. And that’s just the adult.

You might be in a toy store and it’s time to put the Thomas train down and leave. You might be, say, needing to urgently pop into the supermarket for a minute, but Child simply does not want to comply. The hypothetical scenarios are endless. But, one thing is constant – the volume. Oh, lordy, the volume. They scream. They kick. They lie on the floor and flop around like a stranded fish. Then they lash out. Then they cry. And yell some more. And wriggle from your grasp when you try to scoop them up. And, if they are that way inclined, they run away, forcing you to chase them in a way that never, ever looks graceful. I think even Usain Bolt would look silly chasing a tantrum-throwing toddler.

The best way to deal with this one? Keep calm. SO much easier said than done, this is for sure. But, do try. Do your best to remove them from the situation, ignore the looks from strangers (because, of course, Mrs McPerfect-Parent will be there, you can guarantee it. Scowling and whispering about “kids being out of control” blah blah).

Don’t try to reason with a kid pulling off the Classic. It’s wasted breath.

The Love Me Tantrum

This one is a funny one. They want to yell and scream, they are So. Very. Mad. But, at the same time, they want you to hug them and make them feel ok. Even though you are the reason they are mad. I know, I said it was a funny one.

“NO! Why can’t I have another BISCUIT??? WHY NOT MUM! WHY????? Give me a BISCUIT!”

quickly followed by,

“Mum! Give me a HUG! CUDDLE ME! I’M SO VERY MAD! MUM! I LOVE YOU!”

side bar: I should mention, I typed this particular segment with a mock frown on my face, hitting the keys with precision and force. Just saying.

The Silent

Oh. Now, this one is complicated. And difficult to decipher. They are mad. And, appear to be dealing with the injustice that has been bestowed upon them in a grown up manner. Until you realise, they are simmering. While this is by far more preferable to, say, The Classic, you can bet your bottom dollar that this is the one they save for when you are at home. In private.

Child A takes toy from Child B. Child A gets told off and asked to return toy. Child A scowls, folds their arms and huffs off in to the corner of the room. She sits, legs up and arms folded, and glares. And glares, eyes narrow and brows down. You tentatively ask her, “are you ok?” to which she replies with a stiff, jutted jaw and even narrower eyes.

Scary, I tell you what.

The Sobber

There is crying. And then there is loud, dramatic sobbing.

“Uhhhhhhhh *hic* ah – ah – ah – uhhhhhhhhhhh – ah – ah – ah – uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh – ah – ah – ah – uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh *hic*”.

And when you dare intervene, it just gets louder.

This one I try to ignore. With headphones on, if needs be.

The Teenager

Now, don’t be deceived – The Teenager tantrum is not only for teenagers. On no, parents of girls especially beware – these hit at a frighteningly early age!

“You ruined my LIFE. I HATE you. How COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME? You are so UNFAIR. This isn’t FAIR”

*door slam*

I can’t wait.

The Grown Up

And, of course, because if tantrums were only limited to toddlers, that would be grossly unfair – the Grown Up tantrum. Especially for adults.

“YOU STOLE MY PARKING SPOT, YOU NO-GOOD DARN-TOOTING WEASEL!” .. or, words to that effect.

These are almost always met with a united stare of, “my dear, you are too old for this behaviour”.

 

And so you have it. Tantrums. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are there. Manage them how you best see fit, different strokes for different folks and all that – what works for one kid may not for another. And, don’t take them too seriously. Kids throw tantrums, it’s their way of communicating and learning to deal with the big bad world out there! Adults? Well, bit less sympathy for them.

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They Really Ought to Have Prepared Me For This

Parenting is a surprise, that’s for sure. A lot of it is discussed freely, yet still comes as an utter shock surprise when it actually happens. And, I’m not talking about the stuff – the sleepless nights, the endless laundry *eyes Mt Foldmore beside me*, the chaos and the tantrums. Oh, no. I’m talking about the emotional things that happen when you have kids. The “my god I can’t believe my Mum is crying, I’m never doing that. OMG Shame, Mum.” moments that take you (and your reactions) by surprise.

I was in no way prepared for my reactions when certain milestones were reached. Not me. No. I don’t cry at the drop of a hat. C’mon, people. I’m tough.

Plot twist: I’m not. I’m a wimp. A wuss. I find myself welling up at the most ridiculous times, as well as those predictable moments.

No one prepared me for this!

Here are a few times when you will cry. And it may surprise you. You will. If you don’t, then you have no soul. Just kidding. You will cry.

  • The first time your baby outgrows their teeny newborn clothes. And then every time you hold said newborn clothes. For eternity.

Babies grow. We all know this. But they grow FAST. And, before you know it, your tiny little button will be stretching out of her stretch-and-grow. And then you will have forgotten just how tiny she was. And, when she is two, even more so. And, when she is five. Ten. Thirteen. Twenty six. Forty. *tear*

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  • The first time your child pushes you away when you swoop in for a kiss

I mean, I am their mother! It is my fundamental right to be able to kiss my children whenever I want. How dare my three year old son tell me, “no kiss, Mum”. Or, my four year old girl say, “Not today, Mum. I’m busy” *heart slowly breaks*

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  • When they do something ridiculously simple yet so pride-inducing that you feel yourself standing taller and pointing out the everyone in sight, that they are your child

At school, there was a piece of rubbish. The teacher asked, who would put it into the bin. And PRINCESS raised her hand and did it. Even though it wasn’t her rubbish. Now, this is behaviour that I simply expect from my children, yet for her to do it brought me to tears. Just. So. Proud. *chest puffs*

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  • When they begin to do things independent of you

Your kids will always rely on you in some way, shape or form. But, sad as it is to admit, they won’t rely on you the same way when they are ten, as they did when they were two, say. They just won’t. It’ll be different. Doesn’t mean they won’t still want Mum-Hugs every now and again. I hope. *hiccup*

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  • Whenever your child is ill, and you are helpless to stop it

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Nothing beats this feeling. When your child is crying, hurt and unwell and you can do no more than cuddle them and comfort them. I assumed that this would get easier when they were old enough to vocalise what was wrong, but with that comes the ability to ask, “why does it hurt?”. I find myself choking up everytime I have a sick child on me, sobbing and in pain. Their vulnerability just rips your heart out. Plus, I’m their MUM, I should be able to fix the world. Sigh.

  • When they face crushing disappointment

I think it’s fair to say, when your child hurts, you hurt. Watching a kid say to yours, “You aren’t my friend”. Or, realising that all their friends got invites to a party except your child. And, having them ask you, “why didn’t I get one?”. I will never forget the look on Princess’s face when, as a tiny dot of 18 months, a big kid told her she wasn’t allowed to be sitting where she was, eating her marshmallow. That look of sheer dismay. *sob*

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  • Their first day at school

Now, this one is a funny one. Firstly, Princess isn’t actually at school yet, so I’ve yet to experience it. But, it’s not looking good for me thus far. Her school does 10 school visits before she starts. We waited and waited for the letter from the school confirming the date she would start. We were very excited! I opened the letter, read it in my head, then turned to her and said, “The letter says, ‘Princess will start her school visits on … ‘ “. And then I trailed off. “When, Mum? When?! Why did you stop??”. I couldn’t answer her, because I was crying. I knew this day was coming, I knew all about it. I cried reading the damn letter. The LETTER. Sigh.

She had her first school visit this past Wednesday and I was very brave. That is, until she was sitting on the mat with all the other kids, arms folded and listening to the teachers. And then I remembered. I remembered her as a tiny baby. I remembered that incident on the steps with the marshmallow. I remembered her first steps, her first words. And I looked at that big kid sitting on the mat, oblivious to my even being there. And, I cried. I stood there and hoped that no one would talk to me, lest I bawl in front of a room of school kids and their parents. I just .. she’s just … *nope*.

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THEY REALLY OUGHT TO HAVE PREPARED ME FOR THIS.

Rest assured, I have three months to get used to the idea. And, my kids are all still preschoolers – I’m sure, without a doubt, that I will cry a heck of a lot more in coming years. First day of high school. First boyfriend/girlfriend. Don’t even get me started on weddings, grandchildren ..  STOP IT.

And that is that. I need a tissue. And a cuddle. I think I might call my mum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m a Mum. Please Don’t Say That To Me.

There are things that need to be said, and there are things that don’t. As adults, by and large we learn tact and the ability to keep quiet or subtle about things. Some people miss this chunk during their education of being a Grown Up. Kids? Sure, they have zero filter when it comes to saying what they think – Princess once announced very loudly at the supermarket that “that lady has a big baby in her tummy” while pointing to a clearly not pregnant (thought rather large) lady. However, I think some adults, whether entirely unaware or just genuinely not nice people, could take a leaf from the Filter Book.

There are a lot of things that people say to Mothers, and while some are well meaning or good intentioned, they hurt. Or sting. Or make us feel less confident. Or ruin our day. Yes – when you have had very little sleep, you are fighting the willpower of a 4 year old and juggling the well being of two other kids, a simple comment can make us cry.

Here are a few comments that people need not say to people in general, but more specifically, mothers. Who are doing their best, probably.

  • “Control your children!” or “People these days have no control” or “Would your child just be quiet“.

No. Just, no. I mean sure, there are situations when kids are running amok, and going crazy, and loud. But, sometimes it is not for lack of trying to control them on our part. Sometimes, crazy as it may seem, we lose control. Who knows what has happened that day – perhaps they have been awake since 5am (along with us) and perhaps they have been particularly feisty that day, and perhaps we are just not in the mood. Please don’t remind us that, for that particular moment, we have lost control of these little people we apparently own. You might as well slap us and call us a failure. Chances are we are fully aware that our kids are going crazy. Chances are we just intend on getting the two things that we must get from the supermarket, then getting the heck out of there. Chances are, we are already on the brink of tears. Consider the peripheral of the situation before judging/glaring/commenting.

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  • “Oh, you have a boy and girl, your family is perfect” or “Two girls? You must want to try for a boy?” or “Four kids? Wow. Was that deliberate?”

No. NO! My family is perfect now. Perfect for us. Two boys and one girl. My best friend’s family is perfect for her. Two boys. I grew up in a family of four girls. Yes, it was deliberate that my parents have four kids! Perfect for me is not perfect for you. Or you. Or that guy over there with three cats. Also, you may not know the situation. Maybe someone has one child because they suffer from Secondary Infertility (it’s a thing!) and cannot get pregnant again, despite years of trying. Maybe someone really likes boys and loves the fact they have three. C’mon.

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  • Continually talk about “mum” stuff. Only Mum stuff. Breeze past general topics like current events. Or, worse, talk down to someone because they are a stay at home mum, implying that they “probably aren’t interested”.

Here’s a novel thought. There was a time once where we didn’t have kids. What!? You crazy. No, I mean it. I survived in the Real World for TWENTY SEVEN YEARS before I had my first child. I was a bank teller, an airline check in agent, a manager. Sure, I’ve decided not to return to work but that doesn’t mean I hung my brain at the door the day my daughter was born and left it there to gather dust. I still watch the news every night (albeit at 10:30pm once the kids are asleep), I check the internet every day. It’s true, I may know a fair amount about Frozen and Princess Sofia and Mike the Knight, but I also am interested in current events. I like to know what is going on in my country and abroad. I am still a FUNCTIONING ADULT. When we get together, us mums, we talk about poop and school and behaviour and food but we also talk about politics and topical news items and things unrelated to the home or the children. I’m a Mum, I’m not a moron.

  • “Hasn’t your son walked yet?” or “Isn’t she talking” or “My son was a bit slow – he is toilet trained now at 2. Oh, is your son not?

This is one that other parents are well guilty of. The comparisons. The “yets”. This one is particularly frustrating for me as our son is a late talker, so we practically got convinced by those around us that he was either autistic or suffering neurologically. If he was, that would be ok, but my point is that he isn’t. He talks fine, he just does it quietly. I took BabyGirl out last week and she was walking around – another mother was looking at her and forcing her own child to stand. She said to me, “I can’t make my child walk, she should be, yours is much younger”. But, it turns out mine isn’t younger, merely smaller. Chill out, lady. You don’t see many kids starting school who don’t walk/go to the toilet/talk. Relax and let your kids do things in their own time. And don’t press it with other mums. All kids are different, for goodness sake.

  • “You are going back to work?” or “You’re NOT going back to work?” or “Your child is in daycare?” or “Your child ISN’T in daycare?”

Different strokes for different folks. Some people need to work. Some people choose to work. Some people don’t need to work. Some people can’t work. Some people choose not to. Just, different. Not better or worse, different.

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  • “You aren’t married? Can’t you tie him down” or “Have you convinced him to marry you yet” or, to the father, “Why won’t you marry her already?”

This one really bites my bottom. The assumption that all unmarried women with kids are sitting there, gazing out the window on a rainy day, chin on fist, hoping/wishing/praying that today, oh I hope today, he comes home and asks me to marry him! Oh, I hope, I hope! Sheesh. Here’s a crazy thought – sometimes, it’s the woman who doesn’t want to get married. Perhaps she would rather the kids be older. Or perhaps she can see the money better spent elsewhere. Perhaps he has asked, time and time again, but she says not right now. Or maybe not. Maybe they are both happy being de facto. Mr T and I were together for 8 years before we got married. We had three kids. We got married when it felt right for us, and it was the best timing. We couldn’t be happier for it. My friend got married when she was pregnant with her first. It was the best timing for them, and they couldn’t be happier for it.

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I think the general pattern here is the same – what works for you mightn’t work for your friend. What works for your friend mightn’t work for that lady over there. And, consider the peripheral situation. I say that a rude comment can ruin a day? Well, a lovely comment can make a week.I still remember the day I was shopping, the kids were whining, I was gritting my teeth and a lady came over, placed her hand on my shoulder and said, “you are doing an excellent job. Keep up the good work”. I nearly cried. In a good way. I will never forget her, even though she has probably long forgotten me. Consider that next time you find yourself commenting to a mother about their situation. Be remembered for being lovely, not for being a cow!