And the pregnant lady goes crazy again.
Today is the second time someone tells me , after I freak out at my kids, that they were really not that bad. In fact, they were better than most kids.
Today I chalked it down to the hormones. Last time though, I wasn’t pregnant and didn’t have that excuse. We were on the eurostar going back from Paris to London and we had booked 4 seats facing each other with a table in the middle at the very end of the tram. When we got settled (it was just J and S then) a woman in her 50’s walked to the end of the tram where we were, her seat was the one right beside ours. She smiled at us, looked around, and asked the attendant if there was anything other free seat she could sit in.
There wasn’t. The only other available seat was the one facing hers, still right beside us. Now she didn’t say anything to us. She was polite and smiled when she sat down. But I instantly felt like my kids have to sit still and not make a sound for 3 hours. S was 6 at the time and J was 3. And so began the 3 hour journey I spent whispering threats at my children and restraining them in their seats.
Every time they moved I told them off. If they laughed I told them off. If they dropped something and tried to get it I told them off. so on so forth. When we finally arrived the woman turned to me and said “You shouldn’t be so upset at your children, they were so well-behaved”. I felt so small.
I do that a lot… I immediately assume what I am doing, or my children are doing, is inconvenient for others around us. So, I inconvenience myself, or my children in order for the rest to be comfortable. There are many example in my life when someone complained or was upset about something they had no right to be or that wasn’t my fault and I would change or adapt myself to give them what they wanted. And that was the situation on the train that day.
But the situation today was different. It was about table manners and food. And again, every time they moved I told them off, if they dropped something I told them off, if they laughed with their mouth full I told them off. Add to that the stress that S won’t eat anything but pasta and pizza and we’re making him try new things and the extra dollop of hormones surging through my body. The combination is explosive.
I am a boring old recording of the same few phrases over and over “J, close your mouth when chewing” “ELBOWS” “Smaller pieces, it’s not a competition” “No samboosa until you finish your salad” “MOUTH” “ELBOWS”… You get the idea.
The grand finally was when S put a spoon full of rice and vegetables (miniscule, minute, non flavored, non textured vegetables that if you hadn’t actually seen them there in the rice you wouldn’t know existed) and then started gagging. He has done this once of twice before and it has gotten the same reaction from me. I told him he couldn’t have anymore dinner and sent him upstairs to bed.
Nothing angers me more than disrespecting food! Since I was a child I remember how upset seeing food fights on TV made me and how I used to get angry if I saw anyone throw any food away. So for S to pretend to gag on perfectly good, delicious rice tasting rice really got me angry.
Now while our new nanny agreed that the gagging was a bit much from S and VERY rude she did point out that the kids were actually very well-behaved. I thought about the dinner and all in all they weren’t that bad. I mean J hardly had her elbows on the table. She was really cutting much smaller pieces than she used to. I just told her off for the things she was doing wrong and didn’t praise her for what she was doing right. S did try the sweet potatoes and ate a fair amount with the steak. But I do stand by my decision to sent him to his room though.
He did come down and apologize and finish his rice in the end which I was happy about. And I did manage to get a praise or two in there for the things that they did right. Both times I got told (in a polite way) that I am being a scary, crazy mother and my children are quite good it came from people who were looking at it from a different perspective. I have to learn how to step back and appreciate what it is they are doing right. I can’t stop correcting what they are doing wrong but I need to at least put things into perspective.