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At the moment, I have no idea if this will turn into a funny post or a raging one. I do know that I’ve had a bloody good cry, I’ve screamed into a pillow, and I’ve eaten approximately £8 worth of chocolate covered marshmallows. So it’s all to play for, really.

Argh. My four year old. I feel like she’s turning into the most amazing little person, but her inner diva seems to be growing as exponentially as her inner angel. She’s naturally very caring and gentle, with a definite twang of maternal instinct. She’s very emotional and sensitive: she gets embarrassed easily and doesn’t know how to handle herself. She’s also got a disobedient and showy streak to her…and when all of the above characteristics combine, by Christ everyone knows about it.

And she just flips, you know? It’s instantaneous, her transformation from level-headed girl to all-out monster. I think it’s because she’s becoming more aware of her emotions, her likes and dislikes, but she’s not yet got the emotional maturity to be able to control or manage her reactions. When she doesn’t like something, or doesn’t want to do something, it’s like fireworks have exploded in her brain. She screams, she flings herself to the floor or stamps her feet, she runs off to her bedroom and then quickly runs back again because she wants to scream at us some more.

“You’re really upsetting me Mummy!” That’s a new one. The blame game. Even if she knows that she’s done something wrong, the act of telling her off quickly fans the flames and she projects all of her embarrassment at being reprimanded back at us. The first time she told me it was my fault that she was upset, I was a bit taken aback. It was a subtle change in power – rather than child misbehaving and parent trying to apply some discipline, this was emotional territory we were straying into. Cause and effect.

I think today was pretty bad for two reasons.

Firstly, she’s just come back from a holiday with her grandparents. Just them, and her, where I can assume that she got exactly her own way for five days solid. And that’s great, that’s what these sorts of holidays are for. I’ve got no issue with her being spoiled rotten and I know she had the best week. But then she’s plonked back with us, with a sibling suddenly taking the attention she’s been used to getting, with bedtimes and rules and expectations. Obviously it’s going to hit her around the face like a wet fish. No longer queen bee, no longer having hourly treats, no longer having two adults doting solely on her.

Secondly, we took her school uniform shopping today. I remember those days from my childhood – absolutely boring as hell, being dragged around hot, busy shops, with sweaty feet being rammed into clunky shoes and pleated skirts being tried on quickly in a corner because the changing room queue is too long. Only now I see it from the parent’s side too – one child screeching in the shopping trolley seat and the other child moaning that she’s hungry and those shoes rub and can’t we just go home and play in the garden please? Then, as the clothes are scanned through the till and the total is racking up and up and UP, an almighty paddy because she’s spotted a bit of plastic tat that she needs more than AIR.

“Do you not realise how much Mummy and Daddy have just spent on you?”

Of course she doesn’t. She doesn’t know the value of money, and these clothes aren’t even fun and exciting treats that she’s picked, they’re reams of grey Teflon that are going to be shoved in a bag in her wardrobe until the end of August. Why am I trying to guilt trip her over this? We managed to diffuse the looming tantrum and get into the car, only to launch headlong into another one as soon as we got home because Mummy said she couldn’t have two crackers with butter on right before dinner.

That one was nasty. She screamed like someone was threatening to rip her lungs out. Tears and snot and all sorts, and me muttering “Jesus fucking Christ” to myself as I tried not to stamp my feet and scream right back at her. I should have just given her the sodding cracker. Sorry, two crackers.

I feel like I’ve not explained myself very well – reading this back it basically sounds like she’s an average four year old and I’m just a harpy mum. Possibly. But every day I have with her is new – she gets a bit older, I get a bit older, and there’s no one handing me a guidebook. Every day as a parent is uncharted territory. I don’t want to be the one who upsets her. I don’t want to be this mum who doesn’t know how to make it better.

Ha – well, this was neither funny or ragey, was it?! Sorry about that. Normal service will resume just as soon as I’ve watched her sleeping for a while, and had another little cry. The trouble with girls, hey?

-SJW June 2017

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