Recently Reuben has been suffering terrible threes big time, or rather making everyone else suffer his bad behaviour and general naughtiness! Whoever coined the phrase terrible twos and then promised parents that it gets better lied. Or worked away for their child’s third year of life.
Anyway, this Mother’s Day Reuben was in a foul mood, I don’t know why, probably because he went downstairs with Daddy instead of Mummy while I had a well earned, much needed lie in… until 8.30am! How dare I? When the boys did come upstairs to wake me up with breakfast in bed he was all sweetness and light, until his Dad handed me my mother’s day gift bag and he discovered that the present wasn’t for him. Que running like a mad man to his bedroom whilst shrieking ‘I want a present too’, knocking his brother over and kicking the floor with his heels after a dramatic plunge to the floor, complete with arm-over-head-movie-style drama.
I looked at my husband and he looked at me, we both sighed. Here we go again. Adam went off to see if he could stop the tantrum in its tracks. He couldn’t. So he took a bewildered Toby downstairs to get Mummy a cup of tea and I trudged into Reuben’s room to find him tipping puzzle pieces onto the floor with a ‘What are you going to do about it?’ look on his cross little face. I got down onto my knees and took him by the hands with the intention of having one of those moments of brilliant parenting where I solve the problem with muted tones and kind words – you know, those moments that we all like to think we have, but that are generally replaced by raised voices and nonsense words to replace curses (or even on occasion, actual curses!).
I asked him what was wrong, why was my lovely little man scattering puzzle pieces around the room? I expected a reply about being cross, wanting a present or just something nonsensical about the cut on his hand that he had been harping on about for days but instead he replied, ‘Why’s I’m cross and I didn’t want to be your friend, Mummy. I don’t like you thats why’s I’m going to run away and neber come back.’
What?? WHAT?! It’s Mother’s Day, how can you say such a terrible thing to me on a day like today, you are supposed to be filled with love for me, I’m your mummy! I sat there for a few moments and felt like I had been sucker punched. Does everyone feel this way? How do people resist the urge to burst into tears or scream at the ungrateful little so and so – especially when they follow it up with the words, ‘I’m going to stay with my Grandma’. Low blow kiddo, low blow.
I came downstairs a bit tearful, after making him clean up the mess under threat of loss of his trucks for the rest of the day of course, only to have my husband laugh at me and say, ‘ Oh he’s said that to me a few times, don’t be so sensitive’. Well of course he’s said it to you, I don’t like you right now either for laughing at me in a moment of distress you stupid man, but you’re his Daddy – I’m his Mummy, its different!!
Later on that evening, after an especially trying day, I took the boys for a shower and Reuben screamed at me for not letting him get out and then again for making him get out, all the while telling me he didn’t like me and I was not his friend. This culminated in me telling him to get out of the shower and go downstairs with his Daddy if he wanted to be so horrible. When he got downstairs he told his Daddy, ‘ Mummy doesn’t love me anymore, she doesn’t want me or want to be my friend’. His Dad told me in the kitchen and this time I wasn’t tearful, I cried. What could I possibly be doing so wrong that he feels this way?
I was absolutely crushed, did he mean it? Is this what he really thinks? I took matters into my own hands, complete with lump in throat and took him to one side to have a little chat about our feelings and how much I loved him and that he was the most important thing in my world. He nodded and we had a cuddle before he ran off to play with his trucks. Even though we had that moment, I’m still filled with fear that he doesn’t know I love him and his brother more than anything in the world.
Just before his brother went to bed when we were having a snuggle on the sofa he climbed onto my lap and threw his little arms around my neck, kissed my cheek and told me he loved me and I was his best friend ever.
I guess he doesn’t really want to live with Grandma after all.