I am at home feeling very sorry for myself with an annoying bout of Tonsillitis. But I brought this on myself. As children have a habit of carrying around every active germ in their vicinity, I have a little rule with myself, not to share my kids' drinks. I'm not a massive germaphobic, but I really detest colds and feeling sick - particularly when breastfeeding because most medication is off-limits.
Anyway, I took the kids to a play centre the other day. And after realising I left my son's water bottle in the car, I chose to share my drink with him rather than get off my lazy bum and fetch his. Later that night my throat swells up, neck promptly stiffens and I feel like I am constantly trying to swallow a boiled egg stuck in my oesophagus. This vindicates my 'kids as germ hosts' feelings.
So after a trip to the doctors, I bunker down with some medication and attempt recovery. And you know what, I feel rotten. Generally, I think I have a high pain threshold (not sure why, since I can't really compare it), but this illness has knocked me for six and I feel like attacking my throat with a chain saw, to perform my own tonsillectomy. Drastic I know, but I feel terrible.
I started thinking about my son last week and his complaint of a sore throat and how dismissive I was of it. Unfortunately for him, he comes from a long line of men who suffer from 'man colds' and many other forms of hypochondria and exaggerated illnesses.
So I told him to toughen up, have a drink of water and play. OMG - what if he really felt like me because I feel like death and not just warmed up, feverish.
I did a quick mental checklist in my head: he didn't complain of headaches and I would've noticed if he had a fever. He must have only had a sore throat. Score: Bad Mums 0, Mediocre Mums 1.
This has been a quick reality check to consider his symptoms a little more, before I throw him to the 'man colds' pile for unsympathetic mums.
As for me, my feelings haven't changed: kids are so germy, they are a hotbed of germs... luckily they're cute eh?
DISCLAIMER: For the most part, I am a reasonable human being and I know I have a lot of patience. Sometimes I'm so virtuous, I'm almost saintly... hey, I said 'almost'.
There is only one person that can send me to a little 'crazy' place. It's my five-year-old son. No one else can do it. No one else can make me lose my cool, or squeeze my patience sponge until it's bone-dry. Of course, no one else can go on a screaming rampage for one hour straight. No other child I know will persist with a tantrum for so long. But here's the thing. I always start off as the model parent: stand firm, talk calmly, repeat directions, force time-out, ignore his hitting, smacking and pants-dacking and try with some dignity (albeit, not much) to encourage good behaviour. I do all that.
But... the parenting gurus busy publishing their advice never talk about the tantrum that doesn't end... They never mention what happens when time-out doesn't work. Even better, they never mention what happens if a child doesn't care for the consequence you've issued. And so, I get stuck. Because I've done all the parenting things I should have done and still, the child screams. And as he screams, he's throwing things, slamming doors, stomping his feet, grabbing my arms.
WHAT KIND OF SAINT CAN STAY COOL AFTER HOURS OF THAT???
AFTER A WEEK OF TANTRUMS LIKE THAT??
And so it happens... I snap. I physically cannot bear to listen to his ranting anymore, and so I point my head skyward and let off a bit of steam, or should I say 'scream'.
Yep, that's my 'crazy' point, where the only way to stay sane, is to rip out a scream. Don't they say, 'If you can't beat them, join them'? Never a truer word spoken. You see, he always drives me to that point. He hammers me until he finally sees that he's worn me down to the ground...and so, after jumping out of his skin from hearing my gorilla-like 'Auugrrrhhhh', he stops.
Ah the serenity.
In an effort to keep my voice from sounding horse, I refer to those moments as 'mummy going 'crazy''. And these days - now that he's seen it a few times, all I have to do is say, "If you keep going, Mummy is going to go to that 'crazy' place and nobody wants that, so it's time to stop." And give or take another 10 minutes, he stops.
After mentioning this to a few mummy friends, I've realised that most mums have an element of 'crazy' and they need to. It's like a lioness giving a sharp roar to let her cubs know that her tolerance has waned. A quick squeal to the heavens, and suddenly the kids realise that this time, their mum is well and truly p****d off.