25 October 2013

Behaving badly

I described my girls' behaviour today as 'contraceptive'.

It was. It really, really, really was NOT an example of their normal levels of awesomeness.

The incessant mewling of the discontented, the whining shrieks of the hard done by, the petty fighting, the clinginess, the fake crying and then eventually - the physical tantrum of the thwarted.  Times two. All day.

Interspersed with fleeting seconds of adorable 'siblings getting along' behaviour that kept them from being put in boxes and left outside a local charity.

Teamwork - 3 seconds
The thing about behaviour like this is that it brings me to a state of extreme irritation and disfunction softened only by the overuse of the words 'sweetheart' and 'darling' during each of my bellows. For instance 'JUST DO AS YOU ARE TOLD SWEETHEART" "STOP WHINGING DARLING".  And of course, yelling at small children is so productive.  It always works.

Said no parent ever.

I don't know whether it is paranoia that they will grow up to be an adult who incessantly mewls and cultivates discontent but I have no patience at all with this particular behaviour set. Actually, I have no patience with this behaviour set in finished adults either, so it's just a button presser really.  FFS - if you're not happy, change something.  Please. And I say that to my toddlers, so it's not like I'm playing favourites here world.

And I am sincere when I say that  I have no problem with open defiance, a genuine bout of anger or even a proper melt down - I feel that I'm successfully parenting if my children have firm opinions or heartfelt responses.  Plus, hands on hips and a scolding from a small person still has the power to make me smile, even as part of the unfolding of an imminent apocalypse.

It's the faffiness of whining that I dislike.  If people want something - ask or DEMAND it.  A please can always be added afterwards.  But that whining in a high pitched baby voice which bears no resemblance to their normal vocal activity resulted in me being the kind of parent I don't want to be.

I said to my three year old today "I don't like little girls that whine".  And I was truly appalled at myself.

I don't like whining but of course I like my little girl. I love her.  Always. When she's older I hope she says "and I don't like mothers that imply even for a moment that they don't like their little girl".  Because is there anything more thoughtless or harmful than insinuating that my love is dependent on good behaviour?  No.  And the fact that they are but toddlers and won't remember is no excuse.  If I reply crossly like that to a small child, imagine the world of hurt we'll all end up in when they reach their teens.

Kisses for baby Kara's toes
I might not like their behaviour, but I always always like them.  In fact, I'll always love them and I need to make sure they know my love is unconditional right from the very beginning.  Because it is.

And as I type this, one is sitting on my shoulders and the other is drinking milk with her head on my lap.  They are watching Alex sing "I am the music man" on Play School.  We are all quiet and content.

We're friends again, and my transgressions are forgotten.

And for that I am very thankful.