If I had a slack shitter I would’ve cacked my pants.
I hadn’t seen T and K for a few days. The car was parked very close to a big and busy road, but it was on the pavement as it must be in order to park. I was getting K out of her car seat, roadside, and my ex-wife was getting T out of his on the other side. All of a sudden I see T about a foot away from my leg, merely inches away from the busiest road in town, with cars in the distance about to roar past.
In my head he’d get scared by the cars and run. In my mind the cars could’ve killed him. In an instant these terrible thoughts and images came into my headbox and I reacted. His life flashed before my eyes in a nanosecond of a nanosecond.
So, the first thing I do with my son, after almost a week of not seeing the kids, is shout at him. He moved to safety and stood there sucking his thumb looking dejected.
I cuddled him when we got inside and I explained, calmly and softly, how he must never do that again. He nodded and said he understood but his excitement at seeing me had waned. He looked upset and I was responsible for that. My bad.
T knows the rules, but when he gets excited he forgets them. This is common. Take a child into a stimulating, exciting environment and suddenly they’ll behave badly. You’re waiting for entry to the soft play session and, your normally beautifully behaved child runs away, touches things they shouldn’t, and ignores you. This is normal. In their excitement they simply forget. It’s not bad behaviour if you try to understand that, simply, excitement takes over. Or is it?
But YOU don’t forget and, as a parent, you’ll do the thing that you have to do. We’re adults and have got past this. Haven’t we? Or was my reaction just another version of his. In my terror I forgot the rules and I should’ve dealt with it calmly.
Of course, I felt terrible shouting at my son, but it’s for his own good and I did what I did. Can’t take it back now.
When the kids were at the stage when they go cruising around the house, they took an interest in the dangerous stuff. Obviously. I wanted to toddler proof the house by removing anything that might injure them, anything they might drop and break, anything that might cause them damage or pain. But if you do then you live in an empty house. My wife, sensibly, said that they had to learn the word ‘no’ and so we didn’t remove anything. But it is exhausting and sometimes demoralising when all you say to another human being all day is the word ‘No’. It feels negative and draining. But sometimes it’s the only way.
“No. NO. No. No. No, don’t touch that. No. NO! No?No, not there. No. NO!”
No wonder one of the first words they pick up when they really start to communicate is ‘No’. Which is equally frustrating and demoralising. @motherventing wrote a great post about this recently and I think every parent can identify with this.
I know what I did was right. I know I was being a responsible parent. I couldn’t simply deal with it in a soft, calm manner, not at that exact moment. I know that T will not do it again. I know that I believe he is capable of understanding just how dangerous what he did was.
It didn’t stop me from almost filling my underwear with my own bum chocolate.
Did I do the right thing? Are there times when your kids have also almost made you poop your insides out? What did you do? Please share your stories and experiences, because right now I’m wondering if I’m just too panicky, or if there is another way.
Thanks for reading.