Saturday, 29 March 2008

Screaming Bloody Murder

I am judgmental about parenting. I know I shouldn't be but everyone is allowed one flaw, right? (OK I admit I probably have closer to a thousand flaws but for the purposes of this post we'll overlook that.)

If you have a baby who doesn't sleep through the night but you let them have a five hour long nap in the daytime, I'll be judging you.

If you complain about having to rock your giant 18 month old to sleep every night but you've done it everyday since birth, I'll be judging you.

If your five month old demands to be held constantly or else screams the house down and you never put them down as a newborn....ever, I'll be judging you.

I'll even throw in one from our own family.....

If you put your nose in your infants mouth and laugh when they clamp their gums on and then complain when they turn into a seasoned biter, I'll be judging you. (That accomplishment being Rob's, see my judgments know no bounds!)

You get the idea, right?

So it's not that I am judgmental about everything just the things that people actually bring on themselves. (Heard the one about making a rod for your own back?) Those innocent looking little people we bring home from the hospital soon figure out how gullible we really are and use it to their full advantage. When it comes to parenting I see it all black and white, the grey areas really only cause you trouble.

The part of parenting I am not judgmental about is the part where all our genes get jumbled together with those of our husbands and the Reproductive Fairies pick out which bits they'll use to make up our much anticipated bundle of joy. Then we as parents have to do our best to work with what we're given.

When Thomas reached the 'Terrible Two's' (which for those not in the know is anytime between 15 months and the very end of puberty) we experienced a few tantrums but all very mild. He has my same laid back disposition and is a pretty reasonable child overall. Almost all of his tantrums were frustration based due to his lack of ability to verbalise well. The only full on tantrum I recall was on a trip shopping when we first had the Buggy Board and we went to the Disney Store, he took a liking to some sweets by the counter. (Don't you love that shops do that? Please Mr Retailer can you make my life just a teeny bit more difficult by putting sweets and chocolate wherever a small child might encounter a queue?) I said No, and he lost it. Threw himself on the floor and screamed. I promptly said goodbye to him and made my way to the exit. Apparently the thought of being abandoned by a parent was far worse than having to go without sweets so he pulled himself together and got over it immediately.

We weren't so fortunate with Eli. Eli is totally adorable and spends the majority of his time either loving his penguins or trying to make us laugh. It's the the remaining 5% of his time that causes us the problems. The Reproductive Fairies sent the fiery Siswick temper complete with a large dose of stubbornness packaged adorably with brown curly hair and big brown eyes. Which is just as well or else he may have found himself listed on eBay a time or two by now.

Eli at 22 Months has already well overtaken Thomas in the tantrum stakes. He even has a catalogue of tantrum types varying in horror and volume. But Thursday night we reached new heights of ferocity. My friend had watched the boys at her house while I went to work (Rob was in Scotland with work) and as we pulled up our drive he started to lose it. By the time I got him out of the car he was well and truly committed to battling this grievance out even though really I had no clue what he was so angry about. I made my way towards the front door hoping he would follow and he just stood at my car tugging at the door and of course screaming. Two ladies just happened to be walking past and kept looking back at us with an air of concern, I'm sure they fled home to see if there were any reports on the news of abducted children such was the scene Eli was making.

I ended up having to physically bring him into the house while he thrashed and kicked and of course screamed. It was pretty much bedtime and I knew tiredness had to be a precursor to this whole episode so my numero uno objective was to get this kid in bed ASAP. As I undressed him the screams escalated with each item of clothing I removed. As I discarded each item he collected it and held it such was his disgust that I had the audacity to undress him when he was objecting so adamantly. He even recovered his wet nappy from the bin and insisted on carrying it around.

By this point I was convinced you could probably hear Eli's angry screams on the moon so I felt compelled to text my neighbours who happen to be our Bishop and his wife and explain if they could hear blood curdling screams that it had nothing at all to do with me and Eli was just having a bit of trauma. I apparently have a high tolerance for tantrums, it doesn't even really frustrate me or get under my skin. Above all I was just quietly amused watching my dear boy running around angrily shrieking whilst completely naked but clutching his shoes, socks, trousers, coat, T shirt and wet nappy. I ended up having to restrain him to get him PJ'd up and then I put him in his cot where this whole malarkey continued for 30 more minutes. I really don't have a temper so it just stunned me to see Eli so completely angry that he could behave like this and not even shed one single tear. With me when my emotions are out of control it's the tears that trigger and not the temper.

The anger gave way to sadness eventually and when he cried I went in picked him up and consoled him. The phone rang so I took him with me cradled on my shoulder to answer it. Within seconds he was fast asleep. I placed him back in his cot and marvelled at how wonderful he really is. He went on to sleep soundly for 13 whole hours. Nobody woke in our house until 8:55am.

I am totally prepared to put up with an hour of tantrum like that on a daily basis if it results in that quality and length of sleep. Just don't judge me!

2 lovely comments:

Tom and Sarah Baker said...

You are so funny Carol - maybe it seems so hilarious because I don't have stories of my own to empathise with yet. Bring it on!

A M Y said...

I wish I didn't have a temper! My kids get that from me! Addisyn is the Queen of trying to manipulate me!

8:55 am? I don't think ANY of my kids ever sleep that late...no matter what I do..no fair!