Pick your battles: anything for a quiet life

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Husband and I openly admit we probably let The Toddler get away with murder. Maybe it's a third baby thing like with your first you're that highly strung that you have to fight the urge to sterilise their own hands before they suck them and have a mental breakdown if they don't develop exactly in line with the guidelines (well that and the bragging mummy mafia online ) yet by your third you'd even let them gnaw on the dogs tail so long as the dog doesn't mind and it keeps then happy. You cherish the extended holiday your ears get from a late talker and figure they will potty train themselves.....eventually, with any luck.

We figured out rather quickly that physically he may appear to be an absolute nut job of a dare devil yet actually he seems to know what he is doing and our interference is more likely to cause an injury. So we remain at hand and leave him to it (much to the grandparents horror) ditto with his incessant tea parties which result in him emptying beakers of water into his toy teapot then decantering it into his tea cups and inevitably the carpet.

Oh well. It's only water. Anything for a quiet life.

Or the constant pissing about with the dvd player (he will get bored eventually....right?)

Anything for a quiet life.

One thing I've learned since having The Spawn is to 'pick my battles'. I admit I'm awfully guilty of nagging and snapping at the most inconsequential of things simply because It is I who deem them inconsequential, indeed a rather arrogant assumption.  There is little as pointless as arguing with a toddler over something that shouldn't matter to us or adversely something that  obviously matters ferociously to then. You only end up getting ridiculously pissed off, they match it and raise you saucer wide eyes with fat dripping tears and screams. Eventually the anger subsides and you look upon The Toddler with the remnants of exasperation as they shake and wibble with exhaustion, thoroughly tantrummed out as those mere hiccups of left over sobs shudder and catch in their throats. It's these sad little breaths, devoid of the passion of the tantrum, that are the rocks hurled at your glass heart, shattering it. This small person that mere minutes ago had you boiling at the very peak of irritability has cast their witchcraft and you now inevitably feel sorry for the little toad. Worse though, you change from the indignant warrior of parental law enforcment to a chided, chastised lump of monster who made the Toddler cry. Because you were mean. So what do you do? They're down and out, defeated. The battle is over. You should be basking in glory, you conquered The Toddler.  You won! But no, you give in. Because they're cute and sad. Which renders the entire battle of wills null and void. The real stinger? You made them cry for nothing, because you gave in anyway. If you'd done that at the very beginning all this could have been avoided.

Yet still, that incessant and indignant urge to be right ensures this will happen again and again, some inherent need to be obeyed because you are The Parent and what you say goes. You are the law.

Sometimes you just have to take a step back and ask yourself, does it really matter? Are they hurting anything? Are they endangering themselves? Is it necessarily the end of the world if you just let them have/do it/get on with it?

In other words, anything for a quiet life.

Sometimes when dealing with The Toddler I get that instinctive grown up reaction to his wiles of 'why?' When what I should be asking myself is 'why not?' If it obviously matters to him, who am I to dismiss it? Just because it may appear silly/pointless/wrong to me. We don't have to understand our toddlers but we should make an effort to respect them.

Like the other night, The Toddler was most insistent that he simply had to have a hat that was on the bedroom floor. At bedtime. In bed. My first reaction was along the rather predictable lines of my internal narrator spitting feathers 'ffs, I don't need this. He should be going to sleep. It's bedtime. He's messing about. This is ridiculous. No. No hat at bedtime. He can jolly well get to bed.' Yet I stopped, thought about it and reasoned that he obviously really wants his hat. Why shouldn't he have his hat? Is it really such a problem? Is It really worth the battle? So, I bit my tongue. I let him get the damn hat and he settled down to nurse, wearing it and getting mightily pissed off with it repeatedly coming off everytime he switched sides. I waited until he was on his merry way to being milk drunk and when it next fell off I hid it under a pillow. He was too far gone to notice. We both got our way. No shouting or tears from either of us.

The night before, following a party and busy day he was shockingly hyper at bedtime. My patience wasn't at its best as you can imagine. Having spent a good while stage diving from the window sill to the bed, repeatedly.... whilst butt naked, I gave up trying to get his pj's and nappy on as I could feel the familiar rising fury build within me as I geared up to battle. Was it worth it though, really? I let him get on with it for a while, picked up my phone and pretended to ignore what he was doing, and the passing of time when he should have been in bed. Sure enough, eventually he decided he would let me dress him after all. Ah ha! Result! Oh here sleepy, sleepy, sleepy.... come to mama! Only maybe not. After settling in to feed to sleep he suddenly leaps up, launches himself off the bed and starts rummaging through his drawers, returning with two odd socks demanding I put them on. Oh for fucks sake. Give me strength.

This was a two pronged attack. Firstly, he should have been asleep ages ago and now he wants socks on? Secondly..... they were odd socks. Yes, they didn't even match.

Now my initial reaction wanted to have me tell him to put them back, get into bed and go to sleep. But seriously, what actually was my problem? so what if for some unfathomable reason he decided he absolutely needed to wear these socks to bed? Does it really matter if he does? So against my  so called better judgement, I resigned by simply putting the buggery things on him. He then happily went to sleep.

Anything for a quiet life.

Although I must admit, whilst his penchant for tutus, high heels and fairy wings utterly charms me to core, the notion of socks in bed....is terribly disturbing. People have divorced for less.


  1. I LOVE this :-D!! I too am now on my third and to say she gets away with so much is an understatement, even at 6 months old! Its the toddler's fault! He has been so demanding and vocal etc (like a normal toddler) that I too pick and choose my battles. Its the ONLY way to keep sane. So glad I'm not the only one with an inner narrative that's reaching boiling point though!!

    1. Thankyou for commenting :)

      Always nice to know you're not alone in internal diatribe:)

  2. I followed some links to your blog, and can I just say your writing style is amazing and, frankly hilarious! Strikes a lot of chords with me as mum of a 2 year old.

    Lucy x


  3. Lucy, Thankyou so much for taking the time to read and for leaving such a lovely comment. Your kind comment has Totally made my day x

  4. Fab post. My little one is just starting to assert his will and I like your approach to picking the battles so will remember this for the future. Thanks!

    1. Hope it works. . Me? I tend to pick the wrong battles!

  5. Hilarious! Pretty much the way my brain works on this. My son has had all sorts in his cot for nap time. A potato (uncooked), sachets of condiments nicked from a Wetherspoons. That sort of thing.


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