(‘Let me take a photo of you… Go on… Just one’ ‘NO NO NO NO NO NO’)
Yesterday marked a special milestone in the toddler career of my little man – the unstoppable, irrational, typical two-year old’s tantrum culminating in an epic meltdown which left even my four year old nephew complaining of a headache.
The warning signs were there. Lack of sleep? Check. Nose turned up at quality home made food constructed of the finest ingredients (i.e including two different types of vegetables. Oh yeah.)? Check. Recent bout of illness? Check.
And still I ploughed on with a ‘Nice Day Out’. The sun was shining and the weather warm and I was determined that under no circumstances would we spend yet another day inside – either watching some sodding cartoon about cars/dogs/fish OR going to a place that induces an actual smile and genuine pleasure in my child… Yup, Tesco.
(I am a little ashamed of that last bit. WE LIVE FIVE MINUTES FROM THE BEACH, GODDAMMIT! We should be permanently sporting wetsuits, matted hair and beautifully exfoliated feet.)
Anyway, given the close proximity to the water, I announced that we would go to a nearby sea pool which had a heated pool for young children (Of course it wasn’t actually heated… And my inability to read a webpage would come back to haunt me shortly.)
So me, my son, dad, sister and nephew packed up the car and headed off. And as a result of some clever manoeuvring between the adults of the group, I ended up wedged in the back between the children. This was fine in the beginning, entertaining both boys wasn’t too difficult. I had this cool mum/aunt thing sorted.
When we got to the pool, the boys excitedly dragged us into the water, which I later found out was 17 degrees centigrade. Or, to put into context, bloody freezing. Most of the kids in the foot deep water had wetsuits on. We made our retreat after 10 minutes.
As the boys warmed up, they spent the time they should have been spending getting exhausted in the water, by amusing themselves in other ways. Or as we would call it, tapping into their mischievous sides… trying to fall off a little step, running after seagulls and attempting to get back in the water (I mean, how short are their memories?!). Perfect conditions for the onset of a major grump.
The warning signs were there by the time we finally got back to the car about an hour or so later – E didn’t want to get down from the wall he’d been walking on and he certainly didn’t want to get in his car seat. Bribery didn’t work, praising his cousin for sitting nicely failed to have any impact and you can imagine how well my final exasperated ‘Get In’ said through gritted teeth went down.
Cornwall being Cornwall, and very popular at this time of year, meant that our half hour journey home took twice as long. Or forever if you’re stuck with a toddler screaming NOOOOOOOOOO. NO CAR SEAT……GET OUT….. for most of it. The last straw was when my nephew started to cry and mumbled to my sister in the passenger seat ‘Mummy I have a headache’…
For my part though, I’m finding it increasingly harder to deal with the temper tantrums. I know it’s part of growing up, but there are times when I just want to stamp my feet on the floor too. And then I remember that I’m supposed to be the grown up.
I don’t want to raise a meek, compliant child who never questions or challenges. And part of the reason he has tantrums is because there have to be limits. So that’s a positive for the parenting bit, yeah? I’m clutching at straws here, but you gotta take the positives where you can…
As with all these things, this morning E woke up none the worse for wear for his ordeal. It’s nice to see he doesn’t hold a grudge. Yet.