Im beginning to realise more and more that parenting is something you need to be mindful of. It is an actual job that needs consideration, thought and effort! Every situation the mind is working…logistical planning; tantrum handling; and thinking things through from the child’s point of view. It so much easier just to punish and be done!
We set off on our adventure for a 3 week stay in Northern Ireland. Getting the ferry meant a 4 hour trip to Cairnryan, boot full of stuff, a 6 month old and a 2 year old. Here we go. We’d talked a lot about the long car journey and what the ferry would be like and what we might expect in our little apartment by the sea.
So day 2 of our Northern Ireland adventure did not go as smoothly as the travel day. We went over to Granny and Grandpa Joe’s. You can imagine the excitement from them knowing they will see their grandkids every day for the next few weeks.
As soon as we arrived there, tantrum 1…he wanted to go in Joe’s garage for tools and i told him we wouldn’t be doing that right away. Tantrum 2…no telly time just now….tantrum 3 no chocolate treats. So really all he was asking for were the things he knows he does when he goes to Granny’s. He was whiney and whingey most of the afternoon. He didn’t want to engage in the things Granny asked him to do and he hit me, telling me he wasn’t going to be kind and he refused to pick up the toys. Easy to just think he was a wee brat and to lose the rag and punish.
I felt him and I were being judged (even though this won’t have been the case)..him the spoilt brat and me the one who has made him this way. Ok, so this thought wasn’t very strong at all but it was still there as I was trying to remain calm and restore some equilibrium to the chaos.
Looking at it through his eyes…no routine established yet, and knowing Hugo he will have been trying to gain some control over this strange situation that is happening to him. Also, Finn was dishing out the smiles and getting max points from the grandparents. Hugo had no interest in sitting on Granny’s knee or reading a story with Grandpa. So…the plan – I needed to keep connected with Hugo. I set my boundaries around telly and treats and sat with him as the emotion poured ( I was aware of an uncomfortable feeling all around me!). Now more than ever he needed me to be strong and certain with my limits. I played with him at times when I could and pulled him in for extra cuddles. Providing explanations and giving choices to include him as I could.
It’s hard because the purpose of these three weeks is so the grandparents really get to know the boys. And I don’t want them thinking he’s a bit of a whingey one and not particularly warm. He is what he is at that time but I know he is reacting to the situation rather than being “naughty”. Which gives me hope that he will settle in just fine and they will get to see the kind, funny, loving little boy that he is.
Its 20:57 as I’m writing this and he’s still awake…this is most unusual for my little 19.30 eyes closed boyo. His little mind will be whirring away. I went in to see him just then. He’s in good enough form – not complaining or anything. We talked through his day and thought about what we could do tomorrow. “I go to to Bamboozles with Eliza actually” “we go to that cafe where there is the toys”. Just wanting a sense of what he knows.
At the end of the day, I can only control me and act as I want my children to act. And remember the behaviours come out for reason. Understanding the reasons rather than punishing helps me to stay connected and in doing this helps Hugo to be the person he wants to be.