The baby is good at tantrums, this isn’t anything unusual in a 13 month old child. My older 2 are also pretty good, but I have to say the intensity and longevity of these outbursts seems to be getting worse with each child. I’m not talking about just your run of the mill ‘I want that’ throw-yourself-on-the-floor kind of paddy. It’s a considered build up, a catalogue of events winding up like a tightly coiled spring until something happens and – well, all hell breaks loose.
It’s just a phase.
I’m getting pretty tired of hearing that. Much like counting to three to combat bad behaviour, attributing any unusual activity to ‘a phase’ is something we do often in this house, I think it’s our way of avoiding the issue, or something we say when we literally have no idea how to stop it. I have noticed they seem to be categorised in three particular areas:
There are many occasions in my life where I have to forget I ever had dignity and hold my head high, whilst wanting to squirm into a tiny crevice and rock back and forward whilst re-living various embarrassing scenarios. I now discuss toilet habits over the dinner table and feel genuine surprise when other people look bemused, shocked or worse – squeamish about this. Our eldest went on poo strike for a whole week when his sister was born. He spent the next 2 months on daily laxatives and only in the last couple of months have I been able to relax the strict 6pm ‘have a try’ routine. I said only a few months ago, I would still be ringing his girlfriend at 6pm when he was 20 to check he’d been for one. Our older girl is going through this phase at the moment. At the wedding of 2 close friends this week we had a near miss after she told us sincerely and unblinking a hundred times ‘I don’t need a poo’. She did need one, thankfully we got her there in time and she was so delighted with her achievement she announced it to the entire wedding party who were standing silently for the group photo on her return.
It’s just a phase.
This is the worst. The absolute worst. If I could multiply all the others by 100 and manage to avoid this one, I would. Never again will I take for granted the opportunity to fall asleep…and wake up 8 hours later.
A newborn child will sleep anywhere, any time, for as long as they need regardless of noise and temperature. After a few months, lifting them out of the car seat, shutting a door, coughing, treading on a loose floor board will do the trick. Our oldest child never had much of a comforter that he needed to get to sleep. He’s always sucked his thumb, which seemed to do the trick. Oldest girl however, she was a little different. Firstly there was the dummy. As a tiny baby – place in and hold the dummy. This was the only acceptable way of comforting her. if you let go – the dummy would fly off never to be seen again and you’d be left with a purple, screaming ball of rage – who then woke up her brother. When she was older – she had to do the dummy herself. If you dared to put the dummy in for her, she would immediately launch it across the room leaving you with exactly the same scenario as above. When the dummy went, it was replaced by Molly. Molly is the be all and end all of our little girl’s world and has been since a year old. Resembling Big Baby from Toy Story 3, Molly is no oil painting, she is however treasured, battered and often missing.
Daughter: Mummy! Where’s Molly?
Me: Where did you last have her?
Daughter: The car. The park. Grandma’s. Or the shops.
Me: Ok. What about Lucy? She’s cuddly and wears pyjamas just like Molly.
Daughter: I don’t think so.
And that’s not the only time I’ve had to go rooting through the car in the dead of night. Plus, anytime they manage to fall asleep at teatime they will happily sleep for 2 hours, in the middle of the day, when you have a pile of exercise books to mark: 30 minutes tops.
My middle one has to be the award winner here. As a baby she would eat anything. Anything. She was so good natured in her approach to food I remember feeling so smug that I had clearly cracked weaning. I’d quite like to go back to that point in history and punch myself in the face. Or better, empty a bucket full of the regurgitated chewed up food she refuses to swallow, right on my head. Like an ‘Ice bucket challenge’ for cocky mothers. Since then, I’ve had to bite my tongue when people wax lyrical about how good their children are at eating vegetables. And overcome that feeling of resentment when their children ask for more. At the end of the day, I know she’ll grow out of it (my big boy is now a pretty good eater) and I know that even though the world ends every time Daddy cuts her toast in the wrong shape, this too will pass.
It’s just a phase.
Admittedly, that’s not much help when we go to people’s house for dinner and they ask – ‘what would the children like to eat?’ My response is usually something along the lines of the following:
“Child 1 likes everything to be separate on his plate. No sauces, unless the sauce is lump free and not white/beige/yellow in appearance. Vegetables must be presented raw, and not chopped into small chunks (carrot sticks, for example). Under no circumstances must anyone suggest, hint at or simply present this child with baked beans.
Child 2 must be able to choose eating equipment from a vast variety of choices and retains the right to change her mind up to 46 times before the meal is presented. She must then be allowed to to eat off the plate her brother chose, whilst drinking from the cup her baby sister uses, using the cutlery her mother/father intended to use. Once (and only when) her parents are using toddler cutlery, her brother is eating out of a Disney princess bowl and the baby (with a normal beaker) has poured a reservoir of water in her lunch/on the floor, can the meal began. She must be asked as to the shape and consistency of her food, she is liable to change her answer, again up to the allotted 46 times, and reserves the right to accuse you of not listening, providing desired shape/consistency and henceforth refuse to eat anything. Vegetables are dirty, meat is dirty, sauce is spicy, pasta and cheese/bread and butter is acceptable in 98% of circumstances.
Anything you want child 3 to eat, put on my plate, or on the floor.”
It’s amazing we get asked out at all.
It’s just a phase…
Please tell me it’s just a phase!