The end of a lovely, funny, family day. Just as they ought to be (and rarely are) only for it all to go a big, fat POP. See what I did there?
Under an hour ago, I was reading with Monkey-face to round off the Perfect Family Weekend (insert TM):
Cuddled up together this morning. Tick. Child calling all cutely, “mummy, where are you?” at 7.30am after I’d sneaked off to do important things like washing my face. Tick. Baking. Her “going round and round” with the spoon. Tick. Her licking the spoon. Tick. Her running around madly not wanting to get dressed before hurtling out the door into the snow. Tick. Snowman built. Cake eaten. Tick. Tick. Tick.Tick. Tick.
Not content with leaving my lovely day there (apart from a 3 week old cold that has bitten back with a vengeance and murderous PMT) I decided to push it further and read a book together. She absolutely loved Mick Inkpen’s Blue Balloon. So much so we had to read it again. She got very very excited as we acted out blowing up the balloon and letting it go and stretching the balloon. Too excited. It all got out of hand trying to stop her from actually tearing the pull out page when she was trying to mimic stretching.
I blame myself. Partly because, well, I blame myself. Always. And partly because I just got her too excited, didn’t manage her needs properly (she was over-tired, not having slept at all today) and then followed the long road down. phhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhht.
Trying to get her to stop pulling the page (she doesnt of course understand paper doesnt stretch) ended in a pitched battle. “NO, It’s MINE..!” etc. There were flailing arms and kicking. Most of that was her. Then there was giving her the chance to calm down by counting to 5 (ignored.) And the naughty chair (which she repeatedly climbed off.) Again and again. There was the steady removal of most of her toys (this took some time and for once had little impact.) Then (the shame – mine) the small smack on a padded bottom. David Lammie would be proud. I’m not. He’s an idiot, In fact, I’m an idiot too. Not that my smacking her bottom was anything to do with him. I was just of course at a loss what else to do and – I’ll admit it – frustrated and cross. All the things you shouldnt be when disciplining and all the things you definitely shouldnt be when smacking. I am at pains to point out that it did not hurt her physically and there was no reddening of the skin, only mine in anger at her defiance. Although I dont think you should ever smack. I honestly don’t believe it achieves anything and if anything makes things worse. And it’s inhumane. Which is why I’m just so annoyed with myself. Smacking doesnt work (which I already knew) and my daughter just looked shocked and confused, as if to say “how is that anything to do with not tearing a book?” She’s right. What the hell did any of it have to do with tearing a book.
In the end, she refused to back down or calm down (unsurprisingly) and she went to her room to calm down, several toys down. Calm down she soon did and she came back in, exhausted and contrite. She apologised to me and I apologised to her. We didn’t finish the book tonight, the second time. We had a bit of a cuddle, she drank some milk and conked out in my arms. Just to underline how unfair and unequal the whole affair was.
I think we all just feel a teency bit like someone’s let our tyres down.