You always hear people saying that second babies are easier. For me, it’s true! Hamish is so easy to please. He has a little sleepy, wakes up, gets his milk until he’s so full his eyes start rolling in a milk-drunk way, then he lies smiling until he goes back to sleep. He is like this most of the time. He is generally content.
By stark comparison, my daughter is generally malcontent. There are literally SO many things in her life that can annoy her. I can for example, do up the popper on her boot when she wanted to. Meltdown. Suki, her nanny’s dog, can go through the door first, even though SHE wanted to go first. Big mistake. Daddy can have the temerity to join in with a song she starts singing. Uh-oh.
Recently, I took Lauren to a trial ballet class. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, to start Lauren with a little hobby that I can take her to without her brother and she can practice and improve at? Well, yes it would have been nice but we shan’t be going back.
At this class, mummies don’t watch. They sit in another room. Except this mummy. This mummy wasn’t allowed to leave. Teacher had obviously seen these first time nerves before, so encouraged Lauren to stay and told me to remain in the room. Lauren though, took this as a good reason to sit on my knee and join in with nothing. In fact, the only activities she managed for the whole class were picking her nose and flying into a rage every time I suggested she joined in. She did manage to go up to the teacher at the end when the stickers were being given out to get hers.
Miss contrary (should have named her Mary) then proceeded to name and perform all the dance moves she had seen in the class when we got home! She did also (slightly sadly) say a few days later when I brought the subject up that ‘she didn’t have a ballet dress on’. All the other little girls did and clearly this was an issue!!! Anyway, as I said, that ‘trial’ really was a trial and we won’t be needing to buy a tutu but if we had, I would have gone no further than Trotters. The gorgeous Desdemona tutu we sell for ages 2-8 is one of our all time best sellers and we also stock Bloch ballet shoes as well as ballet tights.
One final example……
Go out with friends for lunch. The children’s menu is, as ever, fish fingers, chicken nuggets or a tomato pasta. As a little vegetarian, pasta it is. (Note to pubs/cafes – children can eat proper food). So, the pasta is macaroni. I tell Lauren this.
‘I don’t WANT macaroni’ she says. ‘I want different pasta.’
‘Well, it is macaroni. You like macaroni’ I say.
‘I don’t WANT macaroni’ she says, louder this time. She then starts sort of chanting it like a mantra and also tells the waiter when he comes to take the order. How do I react to this ridiculous toddler? Do I assert myself and show her who decides these things?
No. I ask the waiter slightly pleadingly whether he could possibly substitute linguine as it was on the adult menu and am eternally grateful when he says he can. (Thank you Old Ship at Hammersmith).
Then I took a long, hard look at myself and realised I am ridiculous. We should not negotiate with terrorists! (Sorry, toddlers). It might make for an easier time short term but it isn’t a good idea. I heard Kirsty Young talking about interviewing her guests on Desert Island Discs and her saying that many of them had difficult childhoods and that adversity led them to achieve the things they have. On that basis, Lauren is going to be lucky to get a 2:2 in Media Studies from Thames Valley University.
Although, in a follow up to last week’s potty training blog, I did make her sit in wet trousers all the way home to teach her a lesson for wetting herself AGAIN when we were out. Not sure it made any difference to her potty habits but perhaps that 2:1 could be in sight after all.