March 14, 2013 by talkaboutyork
Today I did the usual mum stuff that I won’t bore you with. I’m sure you’re all so familiar with the drill you’d rather chew off your own toenails that have it regurgitated for you.
But suffice to say that over and above the normal mum stuff, I also dropped all of the plans I had for today so that I could secure an emergency dentist appointment for a child, take them to that appointment, then race from that to get groceries, before racing back to cheer on younger son at a swimming gala, collect them both, do the homework and served up a pretty smashing meal (if I don’t mind saying so myself. In fact even my children said so).
But then the wheels came off. One of the children refused to eat his vegetables. These are not brussel sprouts and curly kale I’m talking about. Just simple green beans and sweetcorn. Stuff he’s eaten countless times before but he seems to be on a one way trip to the land of scurvy at the moment. He stood up from the table and sauntered off with his plate, not a ‘Please may I be excused’ in sight.
‘Where are you going?’ I asked. ‘Could you come back and eat your vegetables please?’
‘I’m done,’ he grunted.
‘Pardon?’ I asked with a raised eyebrow.
Steely Paddington Bear glare from me.
‘I. Am. Done.’ And he slams his plate down.
Well hello, is that a red rag waving before me? Why yes, I believe it is.
Cue all hell breaking loose.
What followed was a stand off that would make Mexicans quail in fear. He refused to eat them. I refused to let him not eat them, partly because he has to get at least one portion of fruit and veg in a day, and partly because he had annoyed me enough into wanting to win this battle if it meant limp beans on toast for breakfast for the next week.
This then segued (as all of our arguments do) into how I am the worst mother in the world as I say NO to everything. I asked what I say no to. This was his list (dramatically counted out on his fingers):
No to age inappropriate games
No to age inappropriate movies
No to eating sweets when he wants
No to watching TV late on a school night
No to buying him an expensive pen that he has to have (as of today) as the ones we bought last week are already out of fashion
No to letting him leave the table
(As you can tell I am an awful, awful parent)
This went on for some time. Then younger brother, feeling a bit left out of the action, decided to show me the cut in his mouth (again). I said, ‘umhum’ or something equally non-commital as you get when you’ve had to look at a tiny speck inside a lip several times over.
‘You don’t even care, do you? You don’t care about anything to do with us,’ he sulked, the lip in question stuck out for good measure.
Now I had it double-barrelled. Incoming rounds from two fronts.
I’d had enough.
I pointed out everything that I had done for them that day. I pointed out that as a parent it is my job to say no sometimes. But that frankly, I was done and that they could take over.
I have downed tools.
Right now, as I type this, they are washing the dishes. Thereafter they will be bathing themselves and putting themselves to bed. I forgot to ask them to pour me a glass of wine before I flounced out the room. But I will get that later.
For now I am enjoying not being a parent.