The terrible twos arrived last Wednesday. I am ready to dissolve into tears. My little cherub is now only showing moments of her loveliness interspersed with tantrums, shouting, orders and refusals.
She stands up on the couch and looks at me defiantly. She is laughing as I take her down. She doesn’t even mind the punishment. No cartoons etc. It seems to be worth it for her. I know there are Mums reading this thinking, God I wonder did you ask kindly? Did you make the rule clear? Are you losing your temper giving her a reaction? Don’t worry. I know all of this. I am calm. Crystal clear. She gets pretty much no reaction except that I put her to safety. So please. I can’t take your superiority right now. I am not there. Apologies for the snapping.
This is probably a bad day to blog. I usually find that writing helps me find the silver lining again and I talk myself out of the stress. Today I don’t know.
Gigi is getting a tooth. A fang. A tusk. Some kind of ruthless piece of enamel coated treachery that is definitely hurting her badly.
Is the tooth causing all of the tantrums? She usually can be guided so well. She has her moments but is a really helpful, happy smiling child. In the middle of the madness this morning, where she had all of her baby feeding accoutrements on the floor as she pretended to feed Peppa (cute ) as she screamed at me ‘no way’ and threw the plates etc as far as possible when it came to tidy time (not so cute), she ran into baby Betsy to turn on her toy’s music for her. ‘ Now Betsy, now there you are’. Beautiful. Maybe the writing is helping.
Yesterday, we got brave. A touch of sunlight through the clouds made us think. Shall we ‘DO something’?, we tentatively thought. Pet farm? Sure. By the time the snacks and sandwiches were packed the rain came in force. Ok. There was a show called ‘Buttons and Bows’ on locally. No good for Mr Paper, but actually it was Mothering Sunday, so we chanced it. Myself and Betsy bought some nice pieces. Daddy and Gigi hung out in the hotel lounge.
Bravery and hunger demanded we try lunch. We had sofas and coffee table seats. Gigi was already going a bit ‘wild’ climbing a chair, getting out, trying again. I knew it was manageable for now but we had limited time before meltdown. Mr Paper was more positive.
Managed to get a high chair and convince an over excited almost two year old into it. Good. Time check. Naptime approaching. Unless the place worked quickly we were in bother.
Whilst waiting, I played full on Jim Carrey in my distraction attempts, trying to entertain Gigi. Hard work for a treat. Mr Paper meanwhile fed Betsy, who looked about cutely all the while, but has a funny digestive issue that means she is a bit quirky when taking a bottle. She wants it. She screams as if she doesn’t. It looks as if you are force feeding her when in fact she happily takes it mid resisting attempts. So that was going on too. Thank God the place was busy. Gigi was definitely not herself. More ‘shouty’. More hyperactive. More irritable. At one point as we waited, she started yelling, ‘Man.Pasta .Man. Pasta. MAN. PASTA.’. I knew people were thinking I was letting her away with murder. The thing is I knew what I was doing. I got it stopped. Ten rounds of Wheels on the Bus later, Man Pasta arrived with our food.
Gigi was exhausted. This girl has a tremendous appetite and lives for ‘dindin’. She just shook her head when she saw the Penne Primavera . No Mammy. No. No. Folded her arms. Head on chair. Squealing. I thought we are in for it. Full core melt down dead ahead. This was uncharted territory. I was afraid.
I don’t know what magic occurred. The sight of my pile of mashed potato maybe. Big spud fan here. She started to eat. And eat. And eat. I now feared a throw up.
I am not into potatoes. I know I am one of about two Irish people who can say that. It is just the case. I ordered the quickest, easiest choice for ease of passage and I knew the roast dinner would be it. We have a lovely symbiotic arrangement whereby Gigi eats my potatoes along with her own food. Pasta and potatoes. An Atkins nightmare!
Trips to the toilet feature. I wouldn’t normally share only it is part of the trauma. The hotel has a combination baby changing facility with a disability toilet. Gigi arrives in and we wrestle. She wants to push the big red button. No, I say. She dives again. No, it is dangerous, I exaggerate. She headbutts in that direction, finger pointed to the most extended reach possible . I imagine the busy staff coming to a standstill to help the poor person they believe to be in trouble in the bathroom. So we wrangle until we leave.
As soon as I return, Betsy has done one of her specials. We are currently trying to learn if she is slightly intolerant to milk and her awful, green nuclear nappies are one of the signs. You want to be near the bath with these. I managed my best with wipes in the hotel facility. Full change of clothes required for her. Me too probably but that would be ridiculous.
Despite eating with one hand, we both managed our meals, fork only, and the children stayed happy enough. No dessert mind. Madness! Walking coffees were bought. Walking coffees were spilled and leaked.
Leaving was a disaster. Daddy went to pay. A freed Gigi tried to run after him. He didn’t see. Busy, large hotel. She is gone round a corner. I have to abandon the bags and pushchairs, grab Betsy and run after a little girl who will not come back. She then will only push the buggy with her sister in, ‘No Mammy, dop, DOP’ if I try to guide her so as not to hit people in the overcrowded room. Am out of control. I hated it.
I try to tell Mr Paper who has enjoyed the trip and tries to get me to focus on the good parts. Thing is, I was distressed from the outset. I panicked early. I was never going to get the best out if it.
Our weather is miserable again. Everything is dirty. Grey, slimy gunge attaches to your hands no matter what you do. Opening a boot of a car is like getting fingerprinted. When we get home, I am covered in mud stains. Coffee drops. Spit up lines. The baby has green poo stains up her back that I thought I had cleaned. I am sure they are on me too. Both children scream alternatively and unhappily, out of sorts and miserable, and out of character until bedtime. Mother’s day please end, I cry internally. Calm front, remember?
This morning was rough too. Is it the tooth ruining our peace? I am finished maternity leave in early April. Teaching boys and young men again aged 13 plus. They tantrum. I can deal with it very well. Maybe that will happen here too.
So the The Holy Grail has given me half an hour. I am writing. I have coffee (no toast, the goblins put blue mould on the sliced bread and no porridge as it exploded in the microwave. No winning with me today) and soda bread. I put jam on it. Sod the calories. It is an emergency. I am not using a coaster. Or a plate. This morning I will live on the edge.
You know what? The writing has helped. Hope this is only a phase.