A latte and a serve of public humiliation on the side please.

At some point the tide will turn. My kids will stop embarrassing me and I will start embarrassing them.

I can’t wait.

Some days I really can’t wait and just want to throw my own whopping, head-turning, recoil with horror tantrum at the pure frustration at the way my kids are behaving. And the other night I did.

The wild child would not go to sleep. Again. He demanded that I stand in the hallway and wait. I just didn’t want to. You know how it gets to 8 oclock, it’s been a massive day and you just want to be away from them. Whether it is to watch TV, or do the dishes, or go to a dance or yoga class, or have a conversation, or some work, I was done and I wanted him to go to sleep. So as he is yelling at me to stand in the hallway and I am standing in the GODDAMN HALLWAY I yell back. I was frustrated and tired, just like the four year old and so I acted like one.

It felt awful.

And it made me look like a fool. Only this time I was at home and only my husband got to hear my crazy again. The Stink has just started spitting chips over nothing and absolutely cracking it in public. It annoys me but it doesn’t bother me as much as the Wild Child. He is four and a half and I feel like I should have more control over how he behaves. I don’t.

Well that’s not entirely true. When it is calm and there is something in it for him, then we can negotiate and work out a plan. But when he is already losing it and it’s in public and I’m embarrassed then I have nothing. A few weeks ago it was on a camping trip when he threw a stick and was told to apologise. He completely cut loose, screaming like a banshee, thrashing around and refusing to go and say sorry. I was mortified. Firstly that he threw the stick, (it turned out he didn’t know our friend was standing there holding the baby), then he wouldn’t say sorry, then he ran away, then he wouldn’t go back and apologise. So I wrestled him back to the tent, squeezed his wrist, whispered angrily, threatened and then finally carried him back to say sorry.

And I felt like the entire camp park had stopped and was watching the action. They probably weren’t, but at the time when you feel like you cannot do anything to make that child stop screaming. Camp grounds are full of parents and I’m sure what most of them are thinking is the same thing I am when it’s not my kid; thank god it’s not my kid.

There have been worse moments of bad behaviour than this including the brief stop in a Byron Bay café when Martin Sacks, the actor, was commenting on me manoeuvring  my double pram around when the Wild Child reached up and slapped me in the face. You can imagine my delight. Or the time in the doctors when both of the boys start wrestling so badly that they both end up crying, or last week at the beach when one throws sand, it goes in the other’s ones eyes so he is screaming so I say we are leaving and then the other starts screaming and I am just walking up the beach carrying surfboards with the glares of the old ducks sitting in the beach chairs burning holes in my back. I want to turn and run into the water and dive into the waves. I want to tell the old ladies to not come to the kid beach if they don’t want noise. I want to make the kids stop bellowing at the top of their lungs. But I just walk and whisper threats which make no difference at all.

I don’t have any answers except that I know this time will pass and it wont be long before I can get on a dance floor at their 18th birthday party and bust out my best dance moves and have all their friends stare at them with horror. In the meantime though I will just close my eyes and take a deep breath. And if it’s your kid throwing the tantrum I’ll bring coffee or vodka to ease the pain.

We can always dance on that dance floor together.

photo boys




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