Well, lets be honest, whenever I am out I feel humiliated and embarrassed about 50% of the time. My children are unique to say the least, they have literally aged me ten years. I end up wandering around like some sort of mad bag lady. You see, Toddler boy is the most miserable little fella you will come across about 60% of the time. He is shy beyond belief, scowls at people all the time and heaven forbid any stranger should attempt to talk to him. Fifi on the other hand, well, she only wants food and her mummy, so that’s not too much of a problem. I don’t know if it is because she is a little girl but I do feel bonded to her in an entirely different way to Toddler boy. It could be to do with all the difficulties I have had with him, the breath holding from 3 weeks, the slightly traumatic birth with 5 midwifes and a doctor and the depression I felt. I don’t know.
Anyway, each week I take them both to the fabulous Mish Mash Music which I cannot rate highly enough. It’s lead by the lovely Ruth who plays her drums or guitar and really does a great job of keeping the toddlers entertained whilst teaching them about music. That’s most of the toddlers, for the last few weeks Toddler boy has decided that despite actively asking for impromptu Mish Mash sessions at home, he does not want to join in with the sessions. He runs around, climbs on chair and behaves like a demon child. I find this frustrating as Fifi really enjoys herself and I can’t concentrate on one or the other of them. It’s also disruptive. For this I can only apologise. I am cringing from the tips of my toes to my eyeballs. If any other child did this, I would be wondering about the parenting.
Anyhow, today was the final straw. Toddler boy refused to join in, rather he sat in the pushchair screaming “mummmeeeeeee, mummmmmmmm, MUMEEEE”. The humiliation. I decided to ignore this. Then he stood up, tipped the pushchair over and fell over the back ” Bahhhhhh”. Cue lots of wailing. Another mum ran over to help. Big mistake, we are talking about Toddler boy here, the shyest boy in the land. Interaction with other humans is enough to tip him further over the edge. Internally, I felt yet another little part of me give up with any parenting strategy for him and another little part of what I once was died. I picked him up and took him outside to try to calm the frankly, belligerent little fella down. “no, don’t want to” was all he said. He revels in misery, this one. I stood there wondering if it was all my fault. Have I done something so wrong that God has chosen to punish me. I feel mean, but I really am getting to the end of my tether with this. I spend a lot of the time thinking I just want to run away and live quietly alone. With cats. And chickens. And husband (as long as he is quiet). And the sea, to look at, in a manner similar to the French Lieutenant’s Woman.
Whilst outside I suddenly became aware of another scream. Yes, as I had left the room Fifi decided that she wanted mummy. I dragged Toddler boy back inside to find slight chaos, caused entirely by my own children. Yet another class disrupted. I’m so sorry Ruth. I took the decision to drag them both outside, without their jumpers and try to get them back to the car as fast as possible. “No don’t want to” was all that Toddler boy would say. Fifi would not stop crying. I wrestled them into the car, in the knowledge that they would both be heading to the childminders for another settling in session. The old people who commented about my children as they were passing by the car did not help my state of mind. God help the childminder.
I dropped them off at the childminder, both sobbing and clinging to my legs. The poor woman looked a little bit concerned. Inside my head I did feel a tiny bit of relief, a moment of peace and clarity a chance to sit in a darkened room. I think I will get called quite soon to pick them up. What am I going to do when I go back to work?
So in summary, I’d like tips please. How do I deal with Toddler Boy? Do you feel humiliated? What makes you feel better, other than chocolate? Should I take him back to music class ever again? When did you get your life back? Why, Oh why, did I have children?
I wrote to Ruth and mentioned my blog post and she wrote back with this really lovely reply. I think it might help some other people too:
You get your life back when they turn about 4… My little one (now 7) is now a good friend and treasured companion. It started when he reached about 4 ish, and things have just got better and better.