Mumma: (6am) Harry. Would you like some weetabix (has them every day)?
Harry: No bix.
Mumma: Would you like some cheerios?
Harry: Bix. (Why did I ask?)
Mumma: (post-brekkie) Harry. Have you done a poopy?
Harry: (Through the green fog that has descended on the lounge) No poopy.
Mumma: (After recovering from a somewhat lively nappy change) Shall we go and see Spencer and go to soft play?
Harry: Stay in Mumma. No out. (Shall I just get you an X-Box and let you live in your bedroom Mr Pre-Teen)
Mumma takes a deep breath and draws on everything she learnt from “Brilliantly Behaved Toddler.” Stay calm. Give options. Oh yeah – like I used to do when I was a teacher – I’ve got this. I have the skills.
Mumma: Harry. Would you like to wear the brown boots or the blue boots (just get some boots on your feet)
Harry: No boooooooots (cue meltdown and writhing as boots are forced on to feet, while Mumma talks in a soothing, calm voice about the need for footwear)
Mumma: Harry. We are going. Would you like to stay here by yourself or come with Mumma? (Calm tone ditched. I don’t think this was quite what “Brilliantly Behaved Toddler” had in mind with the options)
Harry: Biiiiiiiiing (he’s already watched 4 episodes back to back)
Okay. Options are not working. Statements. Give him statements. There is no need for a yes or no answer.
Mumma: Harry. We are here. It’s time to get out of the car.
Harry: Caaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr. In, in!
Mumma: Harry. We will see the ducks. We will go to soft-play. We will have fun. (Mumma locks the car door.)
Harry: Caaaaaaaaaarrrrrrr (starts hammering on the door and attracting pitiful looks from passers-by. Carried through the car park, expelling a roar that scares off the ducks – and his NCT buddy.)
Remember. No empty threats. Don’t say you’re going to go home unless you really mean to go through with it. Don’t lose your cool. Ignore the laughs that I am sure are well-meaning from people who I am sure have been through it too. Dig deep Mumma. How can you turn this around?
Mumma: Harry. Do you want a snack?
Harry: Snack. Crispies. (Sit on bench munching. Holds hand and trots happily in to soft-play. Mumma needs a glass of wine – oh, it’s 10am.)
Written by Karen Legge for her blog, The Unyoung Mum.