Wednesday, 28 September 2011

What's going on in that little brain?

Dropped off Tara at school with no dramatics this morning, thank goodness. Last evening was a different story.

After school, its usually bath time before Tara's dinner. After dinner its playtime, snack and story time, then bed. Its the routine that's been working ... more or less. Last evening during playtime, Tara was huffing and puffing trying to get little plastic Minnie Mouse dressed up in her plastic shoes and dress. It's quite tricky even for grown ups to get this right and it just caused a mini fuse to blow in Tara's head! She stood up put her hands on her hips, lips quivering declared, she would throw the toy in the bin as it did not work.

At this point what I should have done is let the matter blow over, but no...I decided to be all Mumsy about it and extolled the virtues of being grateful for what she has and how she should play with something else instead. Bad call ! Tara lay face down on the playmat and cried and cried and cried. At first I made the situation worse by saying that I wouldn't play with her if she was that way. Bad call... again! She cried and cried and cried some more, until I changed tactics, took her in my arms and just cuddled and rocked her, all the while asking her to calm down. When she did, I gently asked her what happened. And it came out..

"Mummy, everyone tells me what to do ALL the time, all day in school. Now even you tell me what to do ALL the time..."

I stayed quiet and it dawned on me. My 4 year old is growing up and is going through a major life change starting school. As adults it takes us just a minute to flare up when we feel undermined or controlled. Yet we expect children to fall in line every time, no questions asked. How would that make them feel? Children starting school makes many parents heave a sigh of relief as it gives us more time to do things while our children are "taken care of" in school.

4 years old and suddenly having a mountain to climb is traumatic, even if the mountain comprises, being able to pick up your own coat and bag, get in line, change your clothes, use the toilet, eat your lunch quickly, clear out your plate and tidy up after you, fend for yourself in a playground full of older children, do your work in class...........all without Mummy. Having to learn something in order to survive is not necessarily a pleasant experience for many children. They figure things out eventually because they have to, and slowly may even enjoy their time in school.

But till then, a little extra love, a little extra understanding, and maybe a bit less lecturing and lots more cuddles will not go amiss. I get it Tara...I do...I love you, I miss you and Im proud of you. Today you can decide what we play and how...

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