A Change in Perspective

My patience is at zero today and I can’t cope with the Toddler’s exuberance (read: running around knocking things over, pulling all the books off the shelf, littering the floor with tiny sponge letters and a whole deck of cards) and seemingly boundless hunger (6am: Mummy, bread stick? 6.10: Mummy raisins? 6.20: Mummy banana? 7am: Mummy porridge? 7.15: Mummy more porridge? 8am: Mummy apple? and so on until at 10.30 he was consuming another whole bowl of Weetabix and asking for more). Even his affection was getting on my nerves, as he came and snuggled up next to me while I was trying to do work on my laptop, wanting hugs and cuddles. I may also have been on Twitter but that is entirely beside the point, of course.

Anyway, for Prose for Thought today I was planning to post an old poem that I wrote a year or so ago, but instead I found myself writing one about how frustrated I was feeling with my son. My poetry doesn’t usually rhyme, unless it is Sinterklaas, but it felt appropriate in this case.

A change in perspective

I love you, but you wind me up.
Your goals don’t mesh with mine.
When you want midnight cuddles,
I want a glass of wine.

When you want to watch a DVD
I want you to play.
And when you think you’re helping me
you’re getting in my way.

Your games involve a lot of mess
and take up all my time,
and when I want you to stay still
you want to jump and climb.

I have so little patience
and you have so much joy.
Life’s one big experiment
and everything’s a toy.

I keep telling you ‘be careful’,
‘don’t touch’ and ‘don’t go there’,
but isn’t it much better
to try things and go everywhere?

Better to get down on my knees
and see life through your eyes.
I may be a bit more sensible
but you are far more wise.

(c) Judith Kingston , 2013

As I was writing this, my son started playing and interacting with his baby sister, making her laugh, playing games with her, trying to attract her attention and amuse her. This is a new development. My poem is done and he is still playing with her.

I’m linking this with Prose for Thought.

Prose for Thought

 

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Tantrums – and Mind Reading

I had mentally prepared myself for the Terrible Twos. I thought there would be fearsome battles over “I want another biscuit!” or “No, I don’t want to go to bed!” I thought I would win them with Logic and Being the Parent and by standing firm. I was not prepared, however, for shrieking tantrums caused by my son’s disappointment at a lack of evolutionary advancement on my part.

Let me explain.

The Toddler is lying facedown on the – not very clean – floor, screaming, kicking, crying. There are actual tears. If I come near him, he starts to mow his arms about to try and hit me. Just before he launched into this rather theatrical display of displeasure, we had the following conversation:

Me: Would you like porridge for breakfast?
Toddler: No, Mummy.
Me: What would you like to eat then?

Cue tantrum. What is going on?

It seems similar to the tantrums he has when, out of blue, he says: “Again, Mummy,” without specifying what; or “Pleeeeeease, Mummy,” without asking for anything. Attempts to clarify what he wants dial up the rage. He does not understand “What did you say?” or “What do you want?” and seems to interpret them as ‘Mummy will not acquiesce to my request’.

The Toddler has always been quite prone to extreme frustration. He would shriek and cry in the days when he could not move around yet but desperately needed to reach a particular toy. Later on, building a tower or putting train track together would reduce him to tears. In fact, I had to teach him to say “Mummy, help!” very early on, to deal with the constant shrieking that accompanied a task he had set himself but could not complete due to his own physical or developmental limitations.

Now he is frustrated at mine. Is he waiting for me to develop mind reading skills?

Slowly, the breakfast-options-tantrum subsides a little, and now when I come close his arms don’t wave about but they stretch up to me. He wants to be held. I kneel down and he climbs onto my lap where I hug him close until he stops sobbing. Over my shoulder, his eye falls on the remote control: “TV, Mummy?” he asks sweetly.

Everything is back to normal.