Lessons in Unconditional Love.
‘I hate you!’
‘I Actually HATE you!’
This week my son’s school are participating in anti- bullying week.
‘You are horrible and mean! And believe me when I tell you mummy, I am never CUDDLING YOU AGAIN!’
And I’m so glad they are doing this y’know, because it REALLY seems to be having a positive impact. (Kill me. Kill me now.)
‘You are a cruel poo face!!’ (Did he just essentially call me a shit head?!? TO MY FACE??)
The last part of this abusive monologue is shouted at top volume and with full force, body stiff, little shoulders aimed towards me, spit flying from his little mouth, little fists bunched up in rage, from the bottom of the stairs, where he is busy over gesticulating and very dramatically strapping his Velcro shoes, unfortunately on to the wrong feet.
I pause, debating whether now is a good time to shed light on the shoe error, the wind completely knocked out of my sails.
Practice patience, practice patience, that’s what Supernanny says isn’t it?
Practice patience – do not raise your voice.
Speak in low tones, communicate effectively and with clear objectives.
Set realistic goals.
‘Addison you absolutely can Not go to school in a pair of lightening McQueen Y front’s and an ankle length superman cape.’ I begin, giving Barry White a run for his money.
‘For a start, it is freezing outside, much too cold for you to be showing off your knobbly knees, superheroes get cold too you know! So you need to wear your uniform because everybody else will be. Now please stop shouting at me, say sorry to mummy, and let’s have a cuddle.’
‘NO! I HATE YOU!’
Ok, well I tried.
I retreat to the bathroom and shove a little mascara, which comes out of its aero dynamically shaped tube, dried out and yet gloopy at the same time, on to my hurt features. (Mental note to self – need new mascara in less phalically shaped container incase I suddenly decide to stab myself through the heart with it.)
I take a another deep breath.
He has never told me he hates me before.
‘Daddy is my favourite! I love him! Not you!’
They are just words, he doesn’t know what he is saying, Practice Patience, ignore the bad, congratulate the good. (Mental note to self- try this with the Irish one.)
7am and… Ouch!
My heart hurts.
According to our official noticeboard (the tattered letter that is secured to the very battered fridge door, hidden at the back of the kitchen) all of the children in Addison’s school, including reception, and therefor him, are taking part in ‘many’ anti-bullying activities throughout this week, culminating in them all wearing their own clothes on Friday.
I idley wonder, as I grab my shoes and thump down the stairs to join him, now lying on his back, pounding his feet against the front door, if these ‘activities’, include not telling your overtired, mildly depressed mummy, who spent half the night rubbing your shins (growing pains at a guess) And then bleary eyed, rose from her pit like the undead at Dawn’s crack, to put the heating on so your little feet wouldn’t be cold as you come down for breakfast. Slaved over your packed lunch- being sure to cut the crusts just how you like them, ensuring butter distribution was perfectly equal and finally and thoughtfully hung your socks and uniform on the radiator so they’d feel snug when you put them on – that you hate her and she smells like poo.
The issue is this.
Addison is convinced today is ‘Superhero day’ and having checked (so convincing is he, in his confident tirade) by ringing the over worked and underpaid receptionist at the school (the very same lady who I have now cried in front of on 2 occasions and clearly thinks I am mad) I can also confidently confirm today isn’t actually superhero day at all.
The tantrum, if that is what we are calling it, (emotional abuse seemingly sounding a tad harsh – although it feels that way!) got worse in the car, and no amount of straight talking, avoidance techniques or reminders about Father Christmas watching could get him to stop crying and/or insulting me.
‘I am heartbroken mummy. You have hurt me so deep. You were my best friend. Your bottom is huge.’
Kick me while I’m down why don’t you.
Ok. Be the parent. Be THE parent.
‘No Addison, I am your mummy,’
Calm voice – no shouting – patience, practice patience.
‘I love you very much and for this reason amongst many, mummy will not bring you to school in December in no clothes! DO NOT TAKE THAT JUMPER OFF, PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON, GET BACK IN YOUR CAR SEAT! NO! PUT YOUR BELT BACK ON!’
As we pulled up in front of school however, there was a truly unbelievable transformation.
In a split second my screaming, devastated banshee devil child, magically evolved in to a butter wouldn’t melt model photo frame – esque contented child.
‘Lucas! Lucas!’ he shouts joyfully, all of a sudden snapping out of devil child while banging merrily on the window.
‘Quick mummy,’ he turns to me pointing, ‘there is Lucas! Let me out please, he is my friend!’
Smiles, waves, happy happy joy joy little boy bounces in to school.
‘Bye!’ I shout at the door, rather hoping for a cuddle.
He glances over his shoulder at me, in acknowledgment, but doesn’t respond.
And he is gone.
In to the part of his life I know little to nothing about.
I knock on the classroom window tentatively as I walk back past the main school building, on my way back to the car.
He glares at me.
I point at his shoes.
‘Wrong feet!’ I mime from behind the thick glass, sending him a loving smile, a smile I am hoping he will receive, as a peace offering.
He looks down, turns his back to me, sits down and begins the process of changing them over.
I walk back to the car dejected, preparing myself for the busy work day ahead.
I hope today’s anti- bullying activity focuses on compassion for mummy’s, but somehow, I doubt it will.
Tonight, if I am home before bedtime, I shall ask for an apology, and see how far that gets me.
They are only words.
He doesn’t mean them.
My bottom really isn’t that big.