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Bad dad 101

by admin

Yesterday, in retrospect, turned out to be one of those days that I wasn’t exactly an a1 model parent. You would think that waking up to a stunning Byron Bay winter morning, after 2 weeks of bed hopping in the frigid suburbs of Melbourne, would be enough to put a smile on anyones face. Well not me I’m afraid. No no no, you see I have something that can ruin even the most magical of good moods.

I have children.

Two tired, worn out little hybrid versions of myself (damn it) and Renee, but without my raging chest infection.

Yes my sweet angels, post-holidays, have turned decidedly feral, and holy smoke does that make for fun times. Which it could have been if I was in a better mental and physical state. I’m sort of disappointed that I’m not in the mood to silently piss myself laughing and reach for the camera when the inevitable meltdowns kick off for the day.

No unfortunately (for them) my tolerance levels are pretty bloody low right now, as is my ability to remain calm under duress. (pc version of “not lose my shit”)

One of these cherubs is not going to sleep until waaaay too late but refuses to sleep in and the other little gem is up for the day before the sun even thinks about poking its head up. And they both end up in my bed every night.

Every. Night. FFS.

So the tone for yesterday (which started at 445am thanks buddy) was really concreted early when both Albi and I launched into simultaneous coughing fits and had to beat a hasty path to the lounge before we woke She Who Shall Not Be Named. (see previous post re waking an 8 yr old girl prematurely) I fell back to sleep on the couch, grateful for the extra room ;). Albi did not.

The morning, surprisingly, went by relatively smoothly, apart from the obligatory “because dad’s in the toilet” fight for the day. I merely raised my voice mediating on said occasion.

The first chinks in the armour began to show around 1130am. It started friendly enough. A game of chasey around the coffee table…because that always ends well. Albi split his lip tripping over the rug. Blood, tears and cuddles but ok in the end. Grace had a short lived fiery rant when I evil-eyed her, but it was mostly just a feeble attempt at exoneration.

Lunchtime was when the wheels started falling off.

First cab off the rank was G with a vicious tyrade of abuse aimed squarely at yours truly, because the tomato in her cheese and tomato toastie, that I had made for her by request, was too hot and burnt her mouth. My guard was beginning to drop and I told her that by 8yrs old, I would have assumed she would know how to eat a bloody toasted sandwich and slammed the door.

Not an hour later, with Grace still sulking over the Great Toasty Attack, we decided to head into Byron for a play at the park and enjoy some sunshine. Except for Albi. No Albi decided that his first meltdown for the day would be because he couldn’t watch his 325th episode of Grojband (kids cartoon) for the day before we left. And by meltdown I mean continual red-faced screaming and mouth-foamed thrashing for close to 20min. In fact it only stopped when he passed out from the effort; just as we pulled up at the park. Of course.

By now my mental fortitude was being seriously tested. I tried many forms of tantrum breaking styles; cuddles, distraction, rewards, ignorance, etc, and yes, I even threw my very own tanty, complete with profanities and flying spittle. But alas ’twas all for nought. He had worked himself into such a lather than I really believe he was experiencing a 4yr old version of an out of body experience. I just had to let him come down of his own accord. Bless.

Leaving the park, we eased nicely into another Grace spat over her inability to find a favourite song on the CD playing in the car. Apparently this was entirely my fault and we discussed such all the way to circus class – with a little foot stamping and screeching thrown in for good measure.

I was now, quite ineffectively, dealing with and arguing like a child myself. It’s a amazing how quickly you can sink to this level, and some of the things that came out of my mouth would stupefy even the most illiterate adult. (eg. I know am but what are you)

To even out the score, in the spirit of fairness, it was once again Albi’s turn to climb aboard the meltdown bus as we were leaving circus to head out for dinner.

This time all concept of common sense and logicality seemed lost as he flew into an uncontrollable rage because he was not allowed to take a handful of items home from the play centre area, and indeed that he had to leave in the first place.

This for me was the proverbial straw. In the middle of the (thankfully quiet) road I jammed on the brakes and pretty much lost my shit.

I yelled and screamed, swore profusely (I think I said the f-bomb at least four times – but who’d know), ranted on about their unfair treatment of me, succeeded in bringing them both to tears and I believe at one stage my head rotated a full 360deg as the veins in my forehead threatened to turn into facial haemorrhoids. I finished off by flooring the accelerator, like scaring them half to death would somehow accentuate my point.

Two threats of “I’ll turn this car around” and a whole lot of silence en route to the restaurant brought the fracas to an icy conclusion.

Unlike the threats, two glasses of red with dinner soothed my mood somewhat and fortunately the rest of the night passed without incident. Well if you don’t count the 1-2-3 time out threat that is.

As per usual, once the devil spawn were sleeping peacefully, I had time to reflect on the day. Naturally I dove straight into self loathing and remorse for my parenting skills, vowing to make up for it in the morning.

Days like these are few and far between thankfully. The perfect storm of illness, tiredness and boredom. I realise that the image of me berating my children at full throttle doesn’t conjure up thoughts of model parenting, but hey, I’m only bloody human.

We all have our limits and unfortunately sometimes they get tested. As long as I educate my munchkins that throwing a wobbly is not excepted default behaviour for dealing with conflict, I think there are worse things I could do as a parent than belt out a few well times profanities when all else fails.

As I write this we are all a happy, coughing and spluttering, content and loving family once again.

And next time I’ll make sure I have the camera handy. 😉

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