Friday, April 08, 2011

Parenting hints from the slightly insane

He was driving me crazy.

In a seemingly DELIBERATE effort to push my buttons, he was doing everything he could do to drive me nuts. He was making the most amazingly, brain numbingly, irritating noises and I am sure he was doing it just to DRIVE ME NUTS. Whenever I tried to soothe, redirect, distract or engage he would resist and I am sure he was doing it JUST TO DRIVE ME NUTS!

He is very advanced for nine months.

The answer - I went nuts. I started to sing "Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear" by The Carpenters very loudly in a kind of Irish pub band/Thrash Metal style. Why? Because engaging with a nine month old, taking his behaviour personally and following down the path where we were going was going to take us to places that were not fun. So I chose to DO SOMETHING ELSE. Do something that amused ME and made ME feel better. Something that made the excess adrenaline that was building up in my body and making me clench every cell in anger go away. Something that regulated my anger and frustration so that I could deal with HIS needs effectively.

Because somewhere along the line his annoying squeal and insistence that he wanted to throw himself over the side of the nappy change station and/or spread POO from one end of the space to the other became about me. About my anger and frustration. About my feelings of inadequacy as a parent. About the stressors that I have been facing recently and frustrations with things that have nothing to do with this little red-faced, strong-willed, overtired little boy who was simply pushing his own agenda in the only way a nine month old can.

I needed to put my big girl panties on, suck it up and be the parent rather than place my own garbage on his little shoulders.

So I sang.

"Why do BIRDS, suddenly APPEEEEAAAAR, EVERY TIME, YOU ARE NEEEEEAAAR? Cause like me, they long to be CLOSE TO YOU!"

It was enough to break it, the cycle of mental frustration I had got myself on.

Inwardly I laughed at the absurdity of it. I am the grown up and I was letting this little person, my FIFTH baby (you think I'd know better by now), to push my buttons.

I looked down at him and he looked momentarily confused, then he squealed again but this time with laughter. I finished what we needed to do singing the whole time and he loved it, which was nice, but it really was to calm me down more than him.

Because like they say on the airplane, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first before you assist children.

As I put him to bed I found that the song was actually true. I did want to be close to him again.

It would be nice to tell you that singing hymns or praying is my first reaction to that frustration but it isn't always. But I truly believe an angel said to me this morning "Jess, do something stupid before you hurt yourself or someone else".

And I am glad I took his advice. I am glad I was grown up enough to be a little silly.

1 comment:

Seaweed and Raine said...

Thank you. No, really. Some sane advice for the rest of us. And now I can hear you singing ing my head!!! lol