Monday, December 1, 2014

Teaching by example - or - How not to deal with a 'crisis'

Let me share a moment with you, a recent incident in my life as a parent. This is a snap-shot of one of the not-so-good-moments - for your amusement, education or comfort as appropriate. I do not, by the way, believe this incident means that I am depressed, or not coping with being a parent. I believe it simply means that I am a parent. A parent with the temperament I had before I was a parent.

Hubby had been away for a little over a week, and was due home that evening. I had a large-ish to-do list to get the house perfect for his return and it was coming along nicely. I am used to a lot of help from my magnificent partner, so was surprised at how well I was coping on my own ('on my own' meaning continued day-care for child on my paid-work days - aka days off - and lots of extra help from mother.) But just as having a wonderfully happy child still includes whinges and screams at least several times a day; a together, happy mummy is still at the end of her tether at least several times a week.

Next on the list was testing out the new toddler-harness. Little-man was loving donning his cute new back-pack, but I had to see how he'd cope with actually being leashed before trialling the device in public (the result, as it turned out, was a complete failure... we'll continue to workshop that one.) I was still in my pyjamas and intended to stay that way, but the lace nightie just felt a little too revealing for our intended trip to the letter-box at the end of the drive. So I went to put my cardigan back on. The cardigan I had just taken off within the last half-hour. The cardigan I just put next to wherever it was I had been while I got warm doing house-work... I know I just put it down right next to wherever it was I had been... just right next to me in the room I had been in.. just nearby where it would be easy to find... just down for a moment in the tidy house that everything was visible in... in the house I have now checked EVERY ROOM OF AT LEAST TWICE. WHERE THE FUCK IS MY FUCKING CARDIGAN?!

Little-man followed me around during my increasingly ranty, shouty search - quite peaceful all the while. My one-year-old has already got used to mummy's silly temper (which I sometimes find unfortunate when he is being deliberately naughty and I have no scary-voice in reserve to shock him with.) He knows my tantrums aren't directed at him and are actually quite harmless. I am much like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland - regular screams of "off with their heads!" being hurled around; all heads remaining firmly attached without question.

But eventually I cracked. One of the few things ticked off the to-do list was 'complete and put away laundry', and I was damned if I was going to dirty another top. Not when my plans were coming together so beautifully. Not when I was all set to only have the pyjamas and cardigan to wash after I changed into sexy-new-child-mess-free dress just in time to collect hubby that night. Not when all I had to do was find my cardigan. But the laws of physics were being broken, the impossible was happening to me, and as a result I couldn't even LEAVE MY FRONT DOOR.

My child was in the lounge, I was in the kitchen. So I fell to the floor and wept. I broke-down into much needed sobs, because life was just too much and there was nothing I could do about it. Then little-man entered the room and that's when he broke down. Mr happy-go-lucky burst into terrified tears. And mummy picked herself up off the floor that instant, and cuddled her darling baby and kissed his sweet head and assured him that everything was just fine.

And then I put on a different top and we collected the mail.

(The cardigan was right where I left it. With a pillow on top of it.)