This last week has basically been an emotional rollercoaster of “Aww… where has my baby gone?” and “ARE YOU KIDDING ME, WHERE THE FUCK HAS MY BABY GONE???”
On Thursday, Amelia did something that she has never done before, but not in a cute way. No. She took her defiance and stubbornness to the next level, and although it was a relatively small act of defiance in the grand scheme of things, I feel like it’s set us up for a whirlwind of shit storms in the very near future.
She ate a biscuit.
Ok, ok – I hear you! Let me explain before you peg me as *that* mum. Amelia has eaten many a biscuit in her time, don’t you worry about that! But this time was different. We had spent the day with Grandma, and she had naturally had a few treats, mostly in the shape of ice lollies in the park. She’d been on her best behaviour all day, and I let her choose her own dinner. In hindsight, she was definitely looking tired around dinner time and I probably could have anticipated something kicking off!
Despite choosing her own dinner, she flat out refused to eat any of it. Knowing she was tired, I decided not to push the matter and packed her off to the bath with Grandma while I attempted to get Wills ready for bed and have a quick tidy up. I’m going to take some of the responsibility for what happened next, because I hadn’t quite managed to stretch my tidying to the living room by the time she got out of the bath and had her pj’s on.
There were 2 biscuits sitting on the coffee table. 2 of Amelia’s biscuits that she had discarded earlier in the day, but now decided that she wanted with her pre-bed cup of milk. Given that she hadn’t eaten her dinner, I told her;
“No, not now. You didn’t eat any of your dinner, so please give them to me and I’ll put them in the cupboard for you to have tomorrow.”
And here’s where it all went wrong. I fully expected an argument, a tantrum even. But up until that day, while she would have potentially kicked off about it, she would have
given thrown hurled them at me and then kicked off. But what she did next truly showcased her emerging confidence in her own power, abilities, and self-assuredness.
She looked me square in the eye, and then crammed an entire biscuit into her mouth.
Needless to say, the rest of the evening did not go well for her. Unfortunately for her, it was close enough to bedtime that my reaction was simply to take her to bed. Not that she didn’t put up one hell of a fight! I stayed with her long enough for her to calm down, for me to explain why she was going to bed, and for me to remind her that it was ok to be upset, and that being upset was often the consequence of *ahem* less desirable behaviour! I even stayed long enough for remorse to start to kick in and for her to spontaneously apologise through sobs.
“I’m. So. Sorry. I. Kicked. You. Hic. In. The. Hic. Head. Mummy. Whaaaaaaaa!”
The problem is now that I foresee many more of these displays of stubbornness rearing their ugly heads in the not so distant future. I feel like this was the first time that she truly realised she doesn’t actually have to do what I ask her to (or not to).
I’ve Got The Pow-ah!
I’ve been left wondering about the word ‘control’ when it comes to me and my kids. There have been many times when I could have described my actions as ‘losing control’ (more commonly known as ‘losing one’s shit’), but this was different. I reacted quite calmly, and matter-of-factly. I knew in that moment that I needed to deal with the behaviour that had been displayed in a way that let her know it wasn’t ok, without turning it into a power struggle.
Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? I don’t want to control my kids, or have some kind of ultimate power of them. I want them to grow into self-assured and confident adults who know that they can assert themselves when the time is right. But I also want to raise children who understand boundaries, respect others, and are known for their positive qualities rather than their negative ones (we all have them!)
There have been more incidents since biscuit-gate (ha!), such as looking me in the eye while dipping her pinky into her yoghurt after I explicitly asked her not to dip her fingers in her yoghurt. I can only hope that, like me, she will soon realise that a power struggle is pointless, because neither of us going to win. I’m not going to win because it’s not a fun game that I want to win, nor would I feel any pleasure in winning an unfulfilling prize of ultimate dictatorship over my kids. And Amelia won’t win because ultimately it’s my job not to allow her to become a mini dictator, and that’s a job I take quite seriously…
Excited for the teenage years much?! The Lib Dems want to legalise weed, so maybe I should switch my vote now!!