Of course I don’t mean this literally but, this is fast becoming my go to phrase of 2015. Let me tell you why. There are two things that have really surprised me about being a mother. 1) I never thought my children would assert their feelings about what they want to wear so early in life. I also thought, girls would be more prone to this behaviour (how gender bias of me), I was SO wrong. You know how you go to the supermarket and see Mothers with children half dressed or dressed in a costume with gumboots and wearing an array of accessories? and, you think smugly to yourself “why on earth did that mother let her child out in public like that?”. Well, let me tell you, she absolutely did not dress them like that and to change the attire to something more socially acceptable for the public eye would have resulted in a meltdown of epic proportions. Trust me when I say you would much rather deal with the occasional glance over and “why did she let her kid wear THAT out” than deal with said meltdown. I, am this mother. Not only have I lost all choice over what my 3 year old son wears, he has now entered a phase of extreme dress-ups! Where, anything goes. Scarfs, gumboots in 36 degree heat and usually more than one beanie at a time, capes, masks and full head to toe, superhero costumes, out in public. It’s got to the point where my son now asks “Mum, can I wear my spiderman mask and spiderman gloves to the shops?” and I pretty much just say “sure, why don’t you just wear the whole costume”.
Secondly, and this has been so far the hardest thing. Fierce independence, also to the point of biblical meltdowns, if independence is quashed. It’s testing the qualities I thought I had oodles of – patience…. calmness. I am sure somewhere its kharma for me also being a personality type that’s quite resistant to help but c’mon! Give me a break. My son has to do EVERYTHING himself. And the latest is fastening the belt buckle in the car which is supposed to be a 5-star harness rating that I am sure children (of a certain age) aren’t supposed to be able to do. Try telling this to ‘my way or the highway 3 going on 10 year old’. And, it always happens when you are tying to go somwhere in a hurry. I just want to leave and you have decided to embark on a new level of independence and today is the day you absolutely must do this yourself. As a mother of course, you let them try, and you let them try and you let them try. Small interjections of “Let me help you” or ” if you just let me help you with this part”…end in (screamed in my face, to the point of face turning a brilliant red and face semi contorted) “NO MUM……..I DO IT…..” escalated to a pure scream with his eyes almost popping out of his head at even the hint of me trying to help. Hence, one must have humour to cope. Or a seriously large bottle of vodka.
What I have learnt with my son is that you just leave the situation. I think to myself “You want to do it on your own? Fine”. So, when I get the first round of “No Mum, I’m doing it” I try to take a deep breath in, calm blue ocean, step away and leave him to it. The end result is one of two things. After 10 minutes of trying without my “presence” I will hear screams of frustration, then, silence, then “Mum……can you help me?”. Reverse psychology, I love it. Or half an hour later “Mum…..MUM!! I did it!”. I of course race back in. Applaud, applaud. Congrats son well done you did it all by yourself, congratulations we are all now 100 years old…..can we go now? Awesome.