Darling daughter is going through a phase which I would very much like to go through myself: namely, whenever she gets a bit mifffed by something she shouts: ‘no!’ and lobs herself on the floor, starts beating it and then cries and cries her little heart out.
Who wouldn’t want to do that every now and again?
Amazingly, I have the ability to read so have leeched the pertinent headlines from most parenting manuals on trantrums. The way to deal with these episodes (according to the books) is to be patient, use distracting techniques and try and understand the root cause (frustration, tiredness, hunger etc). This is, however, easier said than done and after employing these techniques most parents who have a day of tantrums (I never thought that was possible. I was wrong.) end up frazzled (frazzled is a parenting term for being close to sticking your child in the boot of the car, drilling some holds in the metal and driving for eight hours listening to static on the radio singing: ‘la, la, la…’ whilst repeaatedly slapping yourself with a cod…just for a break.)
For an illustration of what a tantrum-like day is like below is the following exchange. We’re all going out to the park.
MrShev: Right guys, let’s get our shoes and coats on!
Darling Daughter: No! [looks at me, like she has just seen me pooing in her Cheerios]
MrShev: Let’s put these shoes on [holds up pair of shoes – she’s not Mariah Carey, she only has a couple of choices: shoes or wellies]
Darling Daughter: I do it! [snatches wellies off of me, tries to pull left shoe onto right foot. Starts screaming in frustration]
MrShev: [considers swapping wellies for the shoes but decides it’s not worth it. Even though its dry and sunny outside] Let me help you…
Darling Daughter: NO!!! I DO IT!!!! [tries even harder to pull welly on. Manages to get them on. They’re on the wrong feet]
MrShev: let me put them on the right feet…
Darling Daughter: NOOOO!!!!! [I hold up my hands in surrender and get scooters out for the kids] Scooter? [she says in the sweetest voice after a personality-transplant-switcheroo]
Darling Son: I’ll press the buttons! [On the lift. See here for explanation.]
Darling Daughter: Buttons…? [realisation sweeps across her face that DS means the lift buttons.] Me press buttons! BUTTONS!!! [she does try to press the buttons, but is not tall enough to reach zero – though she is tall enough to reach the parking garage -1. Which reminds me of a tower block / dwarf lateral thinking puzzle involving lifts and rainfall…that makes me sound mad…moving on:]
MrShev: But we need to put our coats on before we leave…
Darling Daughter: BUTTONS!!! Me press buttons!!
MrShev: Let’s put our coats on, eh?
Darling Daughter: No!!! No…oh…ohhh [falls to floor, sobbing. I attempt to put her coat on whilst she is lying down and she F R E A K S] NOOOOOOOOO!!!!OOO!!!OO!O!O!O!O!
Darling Son: Well…she doesn’t want to put her coat on, does she? [with a wry expression on his face. I turn to him, raising an eyebrow; I want to say: thanks for that Mr Pointing-out-the-bleedin’-obvious, but instead say:]
MrShev: Maybe if you put your coat on she might copy you? [He stuggles into his coat as if he’s trying to catch a ferret that has run up one of the sleeves. After this – seemingly exhausting – routine he bends down to his sister, screaming on the floor]
Darling Son: Do you want to come out scooting?
Darling Daughter: Okay. [FFS!!! Why?! WHY!?!?! She says this in the sweetest voice and is now the picture of compliance, holding one arm out so I can don her coat. She sits down on the floor and points to her feet.] Not working…you do it…pleeeease? [You are a bloomin’ nut-nut 2 year old, what are you on? Meth?]
Darling Son: Let’s go!
Darling Daughter: Let’s go! [this whole palaver has taken us nearly twenty minutes…even navigating to the GROUND FLOOR using the lift has not been too traumatic as Darling Daughter pressed the -1 once (because she’s short) and the alarm once and then Darling Son pressed the 2 button (because he’s tall)…but we do eventually make it]
MrShev: Right guys, be careful!
Darling Daughter: [with big smile on her face] Wheeeeee! [she scoots out of our apartment’s drive onto the pavement where there is a slope that leads to a main road, so I grab the handlebars to control her speed] Me do it!!
MrShev: Just until we get to the footpath-
Darling Daughter: ME DOOO ITTT!!!! [part of me wants to say: okay then, fuck it, you do it; you can’t control your speed, turning is not your strongest suit – but hey, why don’t you give it a whirl? If you manage to not give yourself a brain injury hitting the kerb, then you’ll survive the next ordeal which is traversing a Swiss main road (and as we all know the Swiss would rather crush a small child under their Audi’s wheels, serve 10 years for manslaugter and never drive again than stop and waste 4 seconds that they could potentially use for polishing their sandals…) and then you’ll hit another slope which will add yet more speed and you’ll go through a small copse of woodland, maybe ricocheting off a tree or two (Evil Dead style) before finally – FINALLY – ending up in Lake Geneva; which – at this time of year – is full of melted snow and is colder than a slush puppy in an eskimo bus shelter – BUT FAR BE IT FROM ME TO TRY AND SAVE YOUR LIFE!!! I’m your dad, THAT”S WHAT I DO!!! ARRRGGHH!!!]
MrShev: Well I guess I am just going to have to carry you…[Darling Daughter SCREAMS. We get to the other side and the safety of the footpath and I put her and the scooter on the ground] Do you want to scoot now?
Darling Daughter: Okay Daddy [and then she smiles at me…and I smile at her through gritted teeth…and she hugs my legs…and I melt…and it’s doesn’t matter that she screams…because when she turns on the charm I always fall back in love with her…however loud she screams.]