Yesterday morning I had a visit from an old friend. She moved to Australia to be with her Australian boyfriend about 2 years ago and I hadn’t seen her since. She has a baby and a daughter who is the same age as Super Kid (6), she also inherited an older step daughter when she married her Australian hunk.
We sat eating cake and catching up. She told me that she’d been having some problems with her older two children’s behaviour and didn’t know how to sort it out. As we talked my children behaved fabulously, they were kind to their guests and listened to me. She asked me how I had such well behaved children and I responded with my usual joke “I beat them and feed them daily Prozac”.
Pondering on this though I wonder does anyone really have well behaved children or is it just a case of catching them at the right moment? So in that moment it looked as though my children were well behaved, in another moment my friends children would have taken that glory.
Take the very same afternoon for example. We popped into Aldi to stock up ready for our caravan holiday next week. Still basking in the glow of the earlier child rearing praise I decided not to put Wonder Girl into a trolley with a seat, chose a smaller seatless one and let her walk. On entering the store she appeared to have been possessed by the crazy pixies (yes they exist, you do not want to visit a pixie mental asylum believe me!) She was running up and down the aisles, ignoring my increasingly desperate requests to stay with me, or hold onto the trolly.
As I hastily did my shopping, she was lying on the floor mid aisle doing her very best overturned beetle impression. Then things got worse when we joined the queue to pay. By the tills, for some unknown reason, were cupboards. Empty, open, child sized cupboards. So yes, obviously Wonder Girl climbed in, and shut the door. In fact there were five cupboards and despite my pleas and red face she did the very same with every cupboard.
So I’m throwing my purchases into the trolley, clinging onto the last vestibules of dignity as onlookers tut at me and my out of control children. Wonder Girl decides this is the ideal moment to start pushing the trolley, away from me, making filling it with my purchases nye on impossible.
We leave, and I get all three children safely strapped into their car seats. Then I take some deep breaths and move on because this is part of life as a parent. Sometimes your children will do you proud and you will glow with the knowledge that they are capable of being lovely, considerate people. Other times they will be, well, Wonder Girl in Aldi!
So the next time you see a Mum with a pixie addled child don’t judge, give her a smile because next time it might be you.