Sometimes I need a filter between my brain and my mouth.
This is not the way to get one.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Growing Pains...

For some inexplicable reason I thought parenting would get easier as my child got older.

I mean, it sounded logical at the time. Babies can't communicate so it can be tough to identify their needs. As they grow, they learn to speak and this cuts down on the time it takes to address an issue and everyone is a lot calmer.

I'll admit that I'm feeling a bit out of my depth with a 4yo. She is so very outspoken, so very playful, so very sulky and so very territorial.

Some days I just don't know where to start - usually because Miss 4 has rolled out of bed with a scowl on her face and I can tell that the day ahead is going to be a challenge that only peanut M&M's will cure. For me, anyway.

I try so hard not to get exasperated with her behaviour when it's not up to scratch. I always kneel eye to eye and keep my voice quiet and calm when she's starting a 'hissy-fit' over something trivial, I always try to diffuse the situation rather than feed into it. I like the idea of having a conversation with her about what she's feeling and why rather than flying off the handle.

Some days this works fine - and other days I might as well be talking to my pillow.

My Mummy friends compare me to a My Little Pony character...Fluttershy...




Family refer to me as a push over. I've been told I'm too soft, and I'll be honest, Miss 4 totally knows it.

I just don't like raising my voice - I don't even like calling out in a crowd to get someone's attention.  It feels abrupt and agressive.

Last week she completely lost it while out and about, after a day of trying moods and constant attempts to 'talk it out'. I knelt down to meet her blue eyes and was determined to deal with this quickly. I did - but the tone that escaped from my lips was a new one. It was most definitely 'straight-forward'. I didn't yell, I didn't intimidate, I didn't humiliate - but it most certainly wasn't the voice I was familiar with.

Somehow my brain switched a gear...

I put my Mummy Pants on...

I found 'The Voice'!!

And just like that Miss 4 stopped the tanty, and listened to what I said.

I don't like to say I was 'assertive', because I always think people use the word 'assertive' to excuse their 'agressive' behaviour. In my book it's the same thing, but one word has been made more politically correct and Human Resources friendly so bullying can still continue when it's convenient.

But that's a whole other issue for another day!

I still came down to meet Miss 4's eyes, I still didn't raise my voice, I was still calm and quiet. But the tone of my voice was different - it was lower, it was stronger and it meant business. Miss 4 looked confused initially, as though she didn't know who she was looking at, but that gave way to acceptance very quickly - she realised I wasn't fluffing around.

I'm not even sure I can describe it  - but when I think back I always think of Barry White.

But, you know, girly.

I keep forgetting that while Miss 4 is learning every day, so am I. I need to accept that this parenting gig is dynamic and always changing - just because I have a handle on it one day doesn't mean that I'll have it all under control the next day. And a bad day doesn't mean I've failed. It means I'm human.

I've pulled my 'Barry White Move' when necessary and it's been quite effective - sometimes Barry has to come back for a repeat performance - and a week on from finding my best move, the need for it is lessening. For that I am grateful. It means I can keep my marshmallow exterior, but I have a chewy caramel centre now - not too hard and not too soft.

Just right for Miss 4 and me.


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