Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).

15 November 2015

A Sharp Cookie

Miss4 is not feeling 100% well.
Whilst Team Parent (yay!) run through our exhaustive medical tests...

1. Hand on forehead temperature reading
2. Prod with stick
3. Name your favourite colour
4. Use the word licence as a verb
5. Balance this budget
What? We could all share the wealth? By jove!
6. Cake or biscuit?
WTF? Biscuit? <Dials 999>

...Miss4's brain has latched onto the idea that maybe she doesn't have to go school today.
She's a sharp cookie.

Boy8 wouldn't have worked that out. Miss4 does though. She may seem like she's in her own mad world of bonkerness (real word) but really it’s just an elaborate act.


The moment Team Parents (yay!) opened the 'Stay-at-home' door she shoved her boot in the door and kept it from shutting, metaphorically speaking.
Non-metaphorically speaking she threw her school clothes out of her room, and starting saying no a lot.

At the same time of joy BabyBoy1 is full of cold and his nose is streaming, constantly. He also keeps hurting himself, as he can climb and do loads of things of amazing things, which is brilliant!
But his decision making skills have quite caught up and he's a bit like a boy-lemming...

‘WAHHHHHH’ (* ‘I've hurt myself’)
What happened?
‘WAHHHHHH’ (* ‘That door hurt me’)
Did you run into it?
‘WAHHHHHH’ (* ‘Yes... as fast as I can!’)
Didn't you do that just ten minutes ago?
‘WAHHHHHH’ (* ‘Yes and it really, really hurt then as well’)
Hmmm... <Hugs tiny boy until tears stop>
<Runs at door again>

Which is why when I got upstairs to see how far along the getting dressed path of happiness.
I found Mrs. Amazing holding BabyBoy1 and trying to coax Miss4 into getting dressed, one handed. Which is mostly impossible.
It's not going well.

I send Mrs. Amazing off to cater to BabyBoy1 as he needs attention and guarding, in equal measures.
I roll up my sleeves (not metaphorically), make a few prayers to Freddie, Bruce and George, alter my will, and then go in to see Miss4 and 'CHAT' about getting her dressed for school.

(Right... I'm all ready for Miss4 now.... Oh wait... I gotta pee...)

The main thing I need to do though.
Is keep my temper in check. Low temper. Don't get cross and lose control.
I can easily out grump Miss4 and make her get dressed.
But she can remove all her clothes in a little under 10 seconds at the moment -and that is not skill I want to promote-.
So brute force isn't going to work. Well it would work, temporarily, but then it would fail, after I've left for work.

Plus I hate having to make Miss4 do anything. It makes me feel like a bully and a swine.
Daddies should be gentlemen, even if they are making you get dressed for school. Gentlemen, not pompous snobby asses, gentlemen. There's a considerable difference.
Whilst I know it is good for Miss4 to understand what men can do, and how they can act, and how male anger and muscles can, and do, go together.
I'd rather I verbally explained it, than show her. Anymore.

What Miss4 needs to learn from me now is that her Dad can is just as good at negotiating, talking, listening and making out life's a game she wants to play.
Basically I need to convince Miss4 that I can be a bit like Mrs. Amazing.
Still... I have to do things my way. I am not Mrs. Amazing, I cannot handle situations like she does. Only she can do that.
If I try and copy her, Miss4 will see through me in no-seconds, and it will fail.
I have to be myself, but with Mrs. Amazing's compassionate manner. -I don't stand a chance-.

I try some opening gambits to see how bad the grump is...
(Please note that the entirety of the conversation is had with me talking to her back, as she is face down on her bed, bottom in the air. She knows I hate that).

Shall we get dressed and surprise Mummy!
Miss4Bestie will be at school, won't it be fun to see her?
We could scoot to school? You love scooting?
<A moment's waver...>
If you get dressed, you can have some chocolate?
Would you like some chocolate?
<Is shocked>
<Eats chocolate to save it from going to waste>

Chocolate refusal. That's some bad grump.
That's it! I'm out of ideas. I'm getting my convincing hammer.

Change of tact required. I go get her school clothes. Which for some bizarre reason we keep in our bedroom (hey, kids don't improve anyone's sanity, you know...).
I bring back options so Miss4 can choose and feel empowered and more in control of the situation.

Dress or skirt today?
<Points and takes dress>
<Internally fist pumps>
<Watches as dress is thrown out of room again>
<Miss grabs skirt and throws that as well>

I am getting a bit annoyed by now.
Miss4 is doing this utterly on purpose and I am letting it get to me. Miss4 knows what her power in this situation is, and is exercising it to her full extent.
She's refusing to get dressed! The clever swine.

There are four solutions to this problem:

1) Miss4 realises the error of her ways and gets herself dressed
2) Miss4 is sent to school as is and learns why clothes in November are so important
3) I continue being calm and supportive and eventually get her dressed
4) I undo all my good compassion work, and force into her clothes

I go for option three... Oh all right. I didn't.
Shamefully, I opt for four. It does not go well.
It just makes her madder, and I've nearly been kicked in the face twice. Having been hit in the arm repeatedly.
You remember I said she was a smart cookie?
Well whilst being hit by her little hands I boasted told her she'd never hurt me that way. Lucky I managed to duck as she instantly stopped hitting me, and went for a head kick instead.

I get her t-shirt on, which I am sure should be called a blouse, or a shirt, but I have been mocked enough about that, so am happy to go with t-shirt.
But that's as far as I get. I could continue forcing her clothes on. But I know I am being a bully.
She knows I can make her, but she is still fighting and screaming. And that is what knocks out of my rut.

Miss4 is well aware I can make her get dressed. In fact I am currently doing that. I have told her that is what is going to happen. I have warned her. But still, still!, she is refusing to get dressed.
Why? What the smeg is she thinking?

I never did work out the why.
I think she just didn't want to go to school today. We'd had a lovely weekend. Hell I didn't want to go to work. I'd rather be playing Lego.
What I did manage to do, and I am pretty proud of me for it. I managed to jump back on option three and hold on.

I let her rage at me.
I let her vent every frustration and bit of anger in her tiny body at me. Without reacting or getting cross back. I gave her a Daddy sized safe place to feel.

(Please step into Daddies therapy-octagon... No spitting or eye eye gouging...)

Miss4 felt out of control and cross. Her plan was to trash her room. Which makes sense, doing so would regain her control of the situation and it had the added benefit it would probably piss me right off. Except it didn't.
I let her hit me, slap me, kick me. If it hurt I said so and cried a bit. But otherwise I ignored it.
She threw toys trying to smash them. Which seems like a good tactic from her, except that the house rule is toys broken like that just go in the bin. No fixing. Bin-town. I point this out and suddenly she becomes a bit more fussy about what she throws.
Tidy and sorted toys were untidied and unsorted with venom. Most thrown at me. I did a lot of blocking.
She screamed and screamed. So loud, so painful. I said nothing.
She cried, she screamed, she raged.

Eventually she sat down, rage gone.
Remorse and shame kicking in, well a four year olds version. She wasn't happy her room was a mess. She was worried she may have broken one of her toys.
And she realised that if Mummy saw the mess her room was in, she might actually be killed (of course not). That kind of thing.

I don't tell her off. I don't lecture. In fact I do not mention her rage at all.
Instead I hand her a way out of this situation. Like I have come home to find she has bludgeoned a future prat-boyfriend to death, I just get out a mop and bucket and start cleaning.
I fix the situation for her.

I'll tidy up… <Chucks skirt at Miss4> ... whilst you get dressed

By the time I have finished tidying, she is dressed.
Miss4 runs downstairs and hugs Mrs. Amazing.
Mrs. Amazing doesn't really understand why she is getting a sorry hug. And we don't explain. But Miss4 needed to do that, for herself.

As we leave for school (I am dropping off, not going) Miss4 stops and looks at me...

'You said that if I got dressed, all on my own...'
'... there would be chocolate?'
Ha ha no chance
It's all gone

Like I said, a sharp cookie that one.