Talk About Cheesecake

Musings, meanderings and meditation for my mind.

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Starting the day with a smile

Who ever coined the phrase ‘the terrible two’s’ was wrong. It’s not the two’s that’s bad, ‘ it’s the ‘tantrumming threes’ that wear you down.

Talk about a level seven meltdown, Botboy can screech with the best of them. My morning starts something like this most days –

I’m on a beach, enjoying the sunshine. There is no noise. A waiter comes over, bringing some multi-coloured, umbrella and  confetti emblazoned coconut filled with a delicious, soothing, chilled beverage. A large dark cloud stabs me in the eye and a shooting white light pierces through the cloud into my brain. . .

Botboy pulls back my other eyelid, leans in front of the morning light aimed directly into my unprepared eyeballs and grins. ‘Playstachun’.

‘G’way. Bedtime. Sleeping,’ I grumble.

‘Playstachun, mummy.’

‘NO’ – be warned, this fantasy that we mum’s wake up bright and early and ready to play is a lie perpetuated by tampon adverts.

‘Playstachun, mummy. I want it.’ An edge of demand enters the tone.

‘What time is it? It’s 6 o’clock! NO. No playstation, go back to bed.’

‘S’morning mummy. I want the Playstachun. I want it. Now.’ Decibels are rising, there is a definite screech in the voice.

‘Get in bed with mummy and go to sleep.’ This is my attempt at distraction. Admittedly it is not that enticing or effective when you are a wide awake 3 year old who has scented desperation in the air and is now building to a crescendo, but hey, I am still three quarters asleep and grasping vainly for my cocktail.

Cue explosion. I put my head under the pillows and let the melt down carry on for a while. Sometimes if you ignore them, they go away. Sometimes they don’t.

This particular morning there is a short outlet of noise, followed by silence. I feel a small body climbing over me. Something hard hits me in the head, much like the corner of an iPad. Then there is silence again.

I relax.

The persistent, repetitive ‘bing, bing, bing’ of Sonic the Hedgehog, with music, drums into my eardrum. Over and over and over and over and . . .

You get the picture.

‘Turn the music off’.

‘No. NO, no, no, no, no. Muuuummmmmmyyyyy.’ A long involved whining wail ensues, while I wrench the iPad from his hands and flip it to silent.

This is just the first 15 minutes of my day. We then have the ‘refusal avec screech’ over getting dressed, wearing red instead of blue pants, wearing Mickey over Superman T-shirts. Cleaning the teeth is accomplished by mixing cajoling with threats.

To wash Botboy’s face, I surreptitiously warm up the flannel, sneak up behind him and smother his face while fending off waving arms. Getting him to eat his breakfast requires negotiation over which bowl, spoon and cereal to use.

I am sure this makes me sound like a horrendous mother. I don’t remember Sackgirl being this difficult. I know she used to have tantrums, but Sackgirl was much more organised about them. She would pick her time and place with care – middle of the supermarket aisle, the doorway of a busy shopping centre, the bathroom door while I was trapped on the toilet – and let loose with gusto. If I walked away she would stop, follow me until she had my attention and then resume. It was calculated, which meant she could be reasoned with.

Botboy appears to completely lose emotional control. He is stubborn and determined. There is no reasoning with him. Distractions rarely work. Sometimes the only thing to do is leave him to it. Sometimes I join in, screeching back an stamping my feet in time with his – the noise and release is quite enjoyable and it might surprise him into silence.

This temper began when he was three. We passed the two’s with pretty much no hassle. It seems that as his speech and understanding developed, so did his temper. I wonder whether this is inherited (his grandfather can be a right grumpy bugger!) or the difference between girls and boys.

I hope he grows out of it soon!






Embrace the Silly Inside

I have always been a fairly self-conscious person. Whether this be third child syndrome, being English, being the odd one out – who knows? We could ‘shrink’ it out and come up with some deep rooted issues I am sure. I bet we could run up a fairly huge bill. But, no need, because I am finding a ‘cure’ all on my own. Well – not quite on my own. . .

My worry has always been having other people laugh at me. A vague paranoia has followed me through life whispering in my ear that ‘they are making fun of you’, that ‘it is all a set up to make you look stupid’.

This paranoia monster has stopped me from chatting to strangers. Because in my head I know my mouth moves before my brain engages and I am bound to say something weird, rude, stupid. I am clearly going to appear foolish or ignorant. Who knows? Safer to stay quiet!

The paranoia monster prevented me from being spontaneous and outgoing throughout my school life. I admired the hippies at school for wearing bright, multi coloured, mismatched clothing. I thought the piercings and green hair were outrageous. How gutsy! OK, I didn’t want green hair and holes in my eyebrows. But still – they did it. I couldn’t.

I never enjoyed nightclubs. I am not a fan of loud music anyway, but I was always conscious that despite there being a few hundred other people waving their arms about and jumping around like crickets, everyone would immediately stop to notice how uncoordinated and boring my dancing was. I spent my years at uni propping up the bar, guarding the drinks from spikers.

It’s not that I wanted to be an extrovert or that I was really an introvert. I was just hiding.

And then I had kids.

A few moments in time spring to mind.

* Sitting on a stack of catalogues in a well known and busy store entrance, watching as your child writhes on the floor, shouting and shrieking and screaming at a pitch just below bat hearing, having an all out tantrum. Smiling in the face of elderly disapproval and teenager smirks. Sometimes, it’s easier to let them get it out.

* Carrying your child from the supermarket, slung over your shoulder whilst they kick you in your flaming red face and thump you in the back, because you wouldn’t buy whatever it was, leaving your entire trolley of shopping in the checkout lane, half emptied onto the conveyor belt.

* Sitting on a plane for four hours where the only way to keep your toddler from sprinting up and down the aisle or kicking the grouchy old man in front is to read out their favourite book, complete with funny, squeaky and growly voices, sound effects and large arm movements, to the entertainment of other travellers.

* Watching your eldest in their first ever nativity, only to realise that your youngest has not only concussed the people around you with the stench coming from their nappy, but also that the sound effects of an milk intolerant stomach reacting to a new food are louder than the play and nappy leakage has occurred, visible by the trail running out of the bottom of their trousers and across the floor behind them.

It is moments like these when you realise that the worst thing that could have occurred at that moment has happened – and you survived. Not only that, but the other parents around you are laughing with you. In mutual sympathy.

For the sake of my kids I have danced at school discos, dressed up for Halloween, worn a pasta necklace and cardboard pink crown to the shops and more. I have done a lot of things that I would never have thought I could.

And I realised, no one is paying me any attention. Or, if they do pass over a five second glance, it’s quite nice to bring a smile to their face and share a mutual eye roll at the antics of your children. It’s ok.

Thank you kids, for bringing out out the silly in me


Regressing and sibling tantrums

When exactly do we grow up? If someone could enlighten me, what age is it that we become rational adults?

I think it happened to me in my late twenties, although it was a gradual creeping thing that snuck up on me, sneaking insidiously into my behaviours and thought processes. Over time I became aware of my responsibilities and conscious that I needed to control my temperament.

Rational adults should not have tantrums or throw hissy fits. A grown up is able to reason and debate with those who have an opposing viewpoint.

So tell me please, why is it that within 12 hours of being at my parents home at the same time as my brother we are reduced to screaming insults at each other and bickering like . . .  well, like children?

Let me set the scene. I went into the attic in search of some old toys for my own mini monsters to play with. I found my old Playmobil fishing boat. Brilliant. I also found my brother’s Playmobil pirate ship.

Aware that this was his property, I shouted down to see if my kids could play with it. I know it’s a toy and he is an adult, but after all, it is only polite to ask.

“No,” is the response from my childless brother. “They will destroy it, lose all the bits. Break it.”

Please note, my children are not delinquents prone to unprovoked episodes of destruction. They are a perfectly normal three and six year old. Bachelor brothers do not seem very child friendly.

Unfortunately, this alerted him to my position in the attic and he promptly arrived in order to defend further incursions on his childhood memorabilia. Every box I touched was met with a grouchy “that’s mine” or “they’ll ruin it”.

I got gradually more irritated.

Finally I opened a box containing seven plastic horses complete with tiny Red Indian riders. I distinctly remember being given these as a child. My brothers had a fort full of cowboys and indians and I am certain my father gave me my own little set because they would not let me play with theirs.

My brother however, insisted they were his.

Things deteriorated rapidly. Bickering became snarling, grouching became full on arguing. Soon I was holding tightly to my box while he tried to snatch it out of my hands.

“It’s mine” “No, they are mine” “Give them to me” “No”

My mother eventually popped her head up into the attic and shouted at us to stop fighting. My kids were standing, open mouthed, at the bottom of the ladder. We came down, still bickering and snarling and I remained in a filthy bad mood with him for the rest of the day.

What is it that makes siblings, both over the age of 35, regress to a state of childish anger and frustration over seven plastic horses?

And in case you were wondering, I took the box and hid it in my suitcase until it was time for me to go home! Well, they are mine after all!