Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Parenting, John Wayne style

 As I sit here on a quiet train carriage on my way into london, I love having a 2 year old.  He's funny and there's no pretense in him.  If he wants it, if he likes it, he lets me know.  It's refreshing, simple and sweet to see him becoming more grown up everyday.

But I admit that if you catch me dealing with him mid-tantrum, I'll be cursing the two-year-old logic of 'gimme what I want, no not that, now I'm losing it'.  In quiet times I can reflect on the frustration that must build up in him as he gets more independent but is still so reliant on us.  As he can express so much more, and yet we can struggle to understand him.  It's enough to piss off anyone.  

And in our adult minds, we imagine that we can reason with him.  'Just a minute and we'll get some juice.'  But two year old mind doesn't understand waiting.  It wants juice 5 minutes ago!  And then he's screaming so loudly that anything we say is lost in the noise.  

After a fortuitous incident, I discovered that Wild West rules might work better than negotiation.  And I have pretty much resolved to deal with tantrums in the manner John Wayne would deal with a raucous bar brawl.  Talk low, talk slow and don't talk much.  It gives him less to argue with.  

I'm also inclined to find something that could serve the same function as John Wayne's six shooter firing into the air.  That always punctuated the madness with silence, getting every gun slinger's undivided attention. 

We recently had some family over for lunch on Ethan's birthday.  There was a bottle of bubbly in the fridge for ages and this seemed as good a reason as any to crack it open.  Lunch was set and Ethan was getting worked up over the selection on his plate, saying 'No!' and trying to wriggle out of his chair.  Thom was trying to placate him and I was anticipating a stressful stand off.  But just  as he was about to launch into nonsensical scream-mode, the cork popped off the champagne and flew like bullet into the ceiling.  Ethan instantly stopped.  The room was silent and the spiral into tantrum land was halted.  We all had a wonderful lunch.  

Now I'm on the lookout for one of those loud popping toy guns.  There's a new sherif in town!