I had 4-year-old ‘Wizz’ to stay over the weekend with her 3-year-old brother Danny along with their very exhausted Mum, who had come straight from some very long days and short nights on call at hospital. So we packed her off to bed for some more sleep and decided we would go into the garden.
Wizz is our resident drama queen – an honourable family tradition 😉
First, it was the socks. I could only find 2 pairs. One, the pink ones, were hers. The green ones were Danny’s. She put on the green socks. They were DEFINITELY hers. I pointed out that the heel only came halfway up her foot. No. THEY WERE HERS. And Danny could wear the pink ones.
‘Danny, would you like to wear pink socks?’
Danny (scornfully) ‘No. And a fox might come into the house’.
Wizz (tearfully) ‘they really are my socks and I WANT THEM.’
Me (persuasively, and at eyeball-level) ‘Look, sweetie. You’ve got 2 pairs of socks. Danny hasn’t got any. So you can choose. Either you can keep both pairs, which is mean, and nobody goes into the garden. Or you can give Danny his socks, which is kind, and we all go into the garden. What are you going to do?’
Wizz (eyeing me resentfully but with some respect ) OOhhhh!!! :## (she pulls them off with a bad grace, then puts on a pink sock, upside down, and starts wailing again).
‘My socks huuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrt me!’ :(:(:(
Me (believing that tantrums should be starved of the oxygen of attention) ‘Come on Danny, let’s put on your socks and shoes and go outside.’
Danny ‘AND IF A FOX COMES IN THEN I WILL CATCH HIM WITH A SKIPPING ROPE AND MAKE HIM GO OUT AGAIN!’ (said while standing up on the sofa, blue eyes gleaming with fervour under a mop of strawberry blonde hair).
Wizz (more loudly) ‘I can’t get my socks on – they hurt – they don’t fit’ 😥
Me ‘you can choose, Sweetie. Either you can put on your socks and come out, or you can leave them off and stay in.’ Well, it worked last time.
Wizz (>:-[) ‘OOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!’
Me, (realising I had won the battle and prepared to cede some ground) ‘Shall I help you put them on?’
Wizz (sniffling and subdued) ‘ yes please …’
Now for the interesting bit. I assumed I would be not-favourite person for a while. Instead, she looked up at me, and trustfully put her hand in mine as we went out.
I’ve noticed this before with our grandchildren. Eldest Granddaughter got a right telling off one day from Mum. Afterwards EG bounced into the room with me and said ‘let’s all give Mummy a clap. She’s such a good Mummy!’
It goes to show … children need boundaries. Oh yes, they will fight them! – but they will also feel more secure.
It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken :>>