“Your total mega meltdown tantrum really helped me to understand what was upsetting you and see things from your point of view. Said no Mum, ever”.
One of the shittest parts of parenting.
Nobody warns you quite how epic they can be, how long they can go on for, how there is often no preventing them (unless you give in to every ridiculous demand and whim your child comes up with, such as having to go to Legoland every Wednesday because they don’t like having to go to school that day) and you almost certainly aren’t going to get through them without the help of cake and alcohol. Just saying…
My eldest had pretty epic tantrums until he was 3. I vividly remember, with him being my first so I wasn’t the hardened bitch-mum I am now, being at Mothercare near where my mum works and him having such a meltdown over not being allowed to have half the contents of the shop (he threw himself about everywhere, knocked things off shelves, ran into someone else’s child and bit me) that I had a bit of a mental breakdown in the car park and didn’t quite know what the feck had happened to my life. I decided to leave the shop with him kicking and screaming but, upon getting back to the car, I was unable to get him in the car seat. He had pulled his final trump card of ‘the plank’ just as I was about to try and restrain him in the car seat. Little arsehole. I shut him in the back of the car, unrestrained, and let him thrash about whilst I called my Mum for a sob and to ask her advice. Within 10 minutes, she had popped out of her office, driven to where I was and helped me get the miniature monster of mayhem in his car seat. I told you she is a legend.
In he went.
Why couldn’t I get him to do that?! Why was my mum able to put him in his car seat without being mauled?!
Rule 1 of Tantrum Club: Always let a grown up try and apply logic to your tantrum, despite knowing there isn’t any. It’s hilarious to watch them suffer and think about it.
My middle one was quite an easy-going, happy baby and toddler. Lulled me into a false sense of security that one did… I was all smug, thought because he was my second I knew what I was doing and that I was totally Mumming the shit out of life.
Like a boss.
Was I testicles.
This ones tantrums started a bit later, at about 2.5/3 years old, you know, just in time for Pre-school.
Most days I would pick him up from pre-school and I would be presented with the dreaded ‘Clip Board of Shame’, a clip board used to hold the papers you’re required to sign when there has been an ‘incident’. Either your child has been hurt, or they have hurt someone else. For me, sadly, it was often the latter. The embarrassment of having a staff member walk over to you at pickup time in front of all the other waiting parents, only to be presented with the clip board of shame, was sometimes too much to bare. Eventually, after my 15th or so form (not all for him being on the dishing out end I hasten to add, he was bad but he wasn’t Norman Price…) I became a bit more used to it and would know who he had hurt before the form was even presented to me and signed. I’d often find myself apologising to the poor child’s parent despite never being told the name of whichever child it was, call it a mother’s instinct…
Rule 2 of Tantrum Club: Always let grown ups think they know what they’re doing, and then laugh at them manically as you pull a tantrum which is off the scale out the bag.
My littlest one is a bit of an enigma (if you hadn’t guessed from my blog posts). He started his tantrums, I would say, before he was 1. What’s that classed as?! The Naughty Noughties?! He has a stubborn streak that I am nervous of for the coming years and I’m not sure if my shred of sanity that I have left will stand the tests of time with this one…
I’m holding onto the fact that, apparently, difficult to handle babies turn into easy to handle children. I’m not sure who said that, I might have said it to myself after four G&T’s when I think I’m insightful, when in actual fact, I’m just talking shite but, whatever, I’m clinging onto that glimmer of hope so, shhhhhh! Don’t crush it.
This, seemingly angelic, hair-bear has had the glorious opportunity to learn from not one, but two, older siblings, the ways of the Tantrum.
Rule 3: Always ensure the knowledge of the power of the tantrum is passed down from sibling to sibling, cousin to cousin, and so on. This way, the grown ups will never defeat us and the power of the tantrum will live on, stronger, forever more!!!!!!!!! Mwahahahahahaha!!!!
Like the three musketeers, “All for one and one for all!” my boys set about hatching their tantrum plans each and every day.
After a quick huddle in the corner of a bedroom, where I’m sure they decide who is going to piss me off when, they then set about their master plan for the day.
Since it’s the summer holidays at the moment, these ‘tag-team tantrums’ have really become quite draining. And we are only a week in…
Gin help me.
It starts off with one, normally my eldest, having a strop about something minor. Normally an ailment of some sort that has manifested itself overnight, like a sore toe, or a clicking finger. Major illnesses these folks. Major. I will then not give enough of a shit about these minor ailments (i.e: I will not give him a bandage or let him eat a pork pie for breakfast which apparently helps cure said mystery ailment) so a tantrum ensues. Despite the fact he is 8, he still has tantrums, but they are now more teenage angst type ones where he says, “I hate you, I wish I had never been born”, and, “I’m leaving home forever”, that sort of thing. Splendid. He’s not even a teenager yet and already the hormones are beginning to rear their ugly head. I told you all, cake and alcohol, cake and alcohol. He will then, probably, have a few more tantrums about nothing much between breakfast and lunch and then loose momentum, thus handing over the tantrum baton to his brother.
After my eldest has had a go and calmed down, it’s the turn of my middle one, who is prone to epic flip outs over the most inane things (sorry mums at school, you know what I am going on about). For instance, this week, we had a major meltdown over nail polish. Yes, you read that right. He wanted his nails painted because, well, why not?! He wanted them painted red (Liverpool colour) but silly, un-glam, mummy didn’t have any red nail polish, she only had a bottle of dried up black polish and a funky dark purple number, probably from circa 1995. Winning. After a tantrum involving feet stomping, toy throwing, hate shouting and sobbing that life is disastrous, he calmed down enough to accept defeat and eventually chose to go with the 1990’s purple. I, of course, acknowledged his choice of nail colour and duly put it on the bedside table until bedtime so that if he mis-behaved again, the polish would not be put upon his nails. Bribery, sorry, incentive given, he managed to not kick off again for the rest of the day and was allowed to have his pamper session, much to his Dad’s dismay… 😉
So where does the little one come into all this I hear you ask?
Well, he is on tantrum call, ALL. DAY.
When one of the older boys is having a lull, he will rev up and cause chaos enough for me too loose my shizzle, just in time for one of his older brothers to pick up the tantrum baton and start the new wave of misery for me, thus creating the perfect shit storm. He will remove a poo nappy and smear himself in it’s contents, he will smear himself in his food, he will turn the hosepipe on in the garden and hold it at the back doors to water the kitchen, he will undress himself as we are about to go out the door and he will come over to give me what I think is a hug, but in actual fact, he wants to headbutt me. Wondrous, eh?! The team work and planning is quite something to behold.
It’s not all bad, don’t get me wrong, but the school holidays sure are amplifying the tantrums each one of them has and, by the end of the day, when each of them has had their turn with the tantrum baton, it’s safe to say I am finished. Brain frazzled. Happiness dissipated. Delirium sets in…hence this blog post.
The photo of my boys hands inadvertently reminded my husband of an old Bon-Jovi album cover, Keep the Faith.
Quite fitting don’t you think?
I might just have to use that saying as my mantra over the next few weeks to get through these summer holidays. Along with Cake and Alcohol of course 😉
Keep the faith, parents.
Keep. The. Faith.