A Stay Home Mum’s Groundhog Day Ho Hums

Oh wow so we’ve reached that point again, raising your eyebrows to make your eyes feel more awake.

You’ve cancelled the tenth playdate in a row because of viral demons and here you sit, marooned on an island of green snot and high temperatures.

The house smells like someone’s spilt a bottle of tea tree oil in an Italian restaurant, or is it Asian? Sooo much ginger and garlic.

Day in, day out…you don’t seem to sit down all that much but the house is still a bomb site and your to do list never ends.

You have probably tapped out time with grandparents, but they are keeping you sane and will happily accept booga faced decedents.

Occasionally a bright idea pops into your head, but a request for the latest favourite book distracts any attempt at action.

Crap did I just boob for the 15th time tonight??? Probably, maybe, YES…teething.

Excuse me if I have nothing interesting to say, I have just had another groundhog day.

And…they just ate blue paint while I stole time to write this, hahaha ho hum this is bliss

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Parenting How To; An aggressive toddler and his little sister

Last week the heavens saw fit to bless me with a little parenting challenge in the form of our toddler acting like an aggressive little devil. Picture him yanking his sisters hair while imitating her screams and then giggling like a mad man once he was detached from her locks. Then picture me filling with rage, staring wide eyed at my gorgeous son, wondering how he could be so mean and nasty…the evil giggle really makes you wonder, where am I going wrong as a parent????!!!

siblingsAll I want to do is scream at him “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Oh my gosh what is wrong with you can’t you see you are hurting her, YOUR SISTER WHO YOU ADORE! why are you laughing? You are a crazy evil human!”

Instead I try two approaches;

yell NO so loud I scare myself then, growl like some canine mother, and in some weird attempt to stop him laughing and make sure he realises this is not funny but serious and wrong, I put him in his room and close the door. He continues to giggle before banging on the door and beginning to cry, when I open it he smiles from ear to ear and runs out.

or

while trying to comfort Ruby, look into his eyes and explain that his behaviour hurts his sister and that he needs to be gentle. He meanwhile tries to dodge past my blocking arm to grab back at her hair. Giggling or screaming the whole time.

Neither approach was helping and the problem seemed to be escalating. My super amazing mum came around and shared some golden advice…”just ignore it”….well, thats the short version.

In that moment, when he was being aggressive, all he wanted was attention. There would have been a need he had that was not being met, whether he was tired or hungry or feeling wound-up or just in need of connection…so when other attempts to get my attention hadn’t worked (or weren’t working fast enough) he took action. The bigger RE-ACTION I gave him the more aggressive he became, and by far the worst response was when I myself became aggressive in language and in shutting him away. I do not believe this sort of behaviour from a toddler is a conscious effort to manipulate, he isn’t plotting to be evil and steal my attention, no…it is just an event that occurs and then an intuitive response to react.

So what, am I just meant to ignore this negative behaviour? Isn’t that just the same as condoning it? As a parent don’t I need to control my child, teach them wrong from right?

Here is what I learnt.

That moment will not be when I teach him wrong from right.

In that moment I need to stop the behaviour, but not give it energy, not fuel the fire.

Now when he acts aggressively I stop the behaviour, say firmly but calmly “No, pulling hair hurts and I won’t let you hurt your sister.” Then I walk away with Ruby far enough so he can not reach her but not out of sight. I console her without making a fuss and go about doing exactly what I was doing before the incident. All the while I keep an eye on how he is reacting. Sometimes he will follow and start grabbing, so I repeat “No” firmly and calmly, then move away with little reaction. There is no shaming or guilt, no evil eyes. I believe it is so important that we let our children feel every emotion, anger and frustration are not bad, but sometimes children deal with those emotions in unacceptable ways (ahem.. like hurting their sisters).

I am learning to accept that my toddlers behaviour, aggressive or otherwise, is just part of him finding his way in the world. Sometimes our initial reactions in a situation may seem like a guiding force, but they are not always the most appropriate or helpful. Teaching wrong from right doesn’t happen in one moment, it happens over a whole childhood. We do not learn how to deal with our anger in one moment, it takes a life time of guidance and self development. And we do not learn kindness and gentleness through a lecture our parents gave, but through the behaviour they mirror for us day after day after day after day.


It is also really important to remember that aggressive behaviour is usually caused by an unmet need. Sometimes this is inevitable, as parents we can not always cater to exactly what our children need in each moment. I wrote a post a while back about aware parenting, it has a few tools for helping meet the needs of our children…and hopefully reducing their frustration and anger. Time to Aware Parent your kiddies?

Why you don’t know the best way to parent my children

My son was breastfed till 5 months then bottle fed, he was swaddled and rocked to sleep, he had a pacifier, we did lots of tummy time and assisted development exercises, he loves music and song, he used a walker for a LONG time, I baby wore him a lot, I helicopter parent him, we did pureed foods for ages, he doesn’t go to childcare and homeschooling is an option we are considering.

My daughter is five months old and exclusively breastfed, I have co-slept with her from day one, she has never had a pacifier, she has never been swaddled, she loves to snuggle, she feeds to sleep, we do not have a pram for her, I am going to try baby led weaning when she starts solids (no purees), we never forced tummy time, I baby wear her a lot.

Two babies, both my own, I have done some things similar and others quite different. Do you know why I parent my children this way?

No. You don’t.

Because you are not their parent.

handDuring the past week I witnessed an online discussion about a particular method of parenting. Parent A was a big advocate, parent B really loved the theory but after years of trial and error had needed to deviate slightly with her child, parent A wasn’t exactly understanding.

I read the conversation and shook my head. Whether you believe in the ‘mummy wars’ or not there is no denying that when it comes to parenting even the most rational people can get very judgmental and super defensive. I know, I have totally done both. The fact is we tend to get more emotional about matters that are close to our hearts, and being a good parent is of paramount importance for most people. Our choices often leave us feeling emotionally exposed. But what we forget is this journey is not black and white…and no, you will never know the best way to parent my children.

Like any parent I live and breathe these two souls. I am with them every morning to see them greet the world, to see what makes them cry and what brings joyous giggles. I see anxiety, fear or frustration rise in their bodies when others only see an awkward smile. I know what each of them needs to feel safe and loved. I see what motivates passion and inspiration in their actions. Because oh golly gosh they are complex beings with so many little quirks that only I will notice. They are unique individuals with needs that are theirs alone. This is why I am parenting the way I am.

Am I parenting the way I dreamt I would? No. To be honest there are some things I do that I don’t agree with, yet in our situation it is necessary. For instance I would really rather not helicopter parent at parks, but I happen to have a son that has gross motor challenges and a skull with giant holes in it, soooooo bring on the propellers people. Parenting is a journey of trusting your instincts and trusting your child, because each one is on a different path that requires a unique approach.

kiss bostonDo not get me wrong, I am all for sharing information and methods and tools; what works for you? what studies have been done to support it? what makes you uncomfortable? And yes, if a parent is at the point of seriously endangering their child with their actions, of course intervention is important. But when it comes to the nitty gritty, when another parent is obviously trying their upmost to do the very best for their child, wouldn’t it be nice if what we felt was not judgement but instead admiration and empathy.  As a parent wouldn’t it be nice to feel understood and accepted for the choices you have spent countless hours contemplating and evaluating. Let us all remember that every parent is the specialist in their child’s life, and they alone can discover the best way to nurture their child.

Mum out there…

Dad out there…

You are doing an amazing job xox