There is a voice in my head constantly reminding me to be calm, telling me to be patient, reassuring me that things are fine. It tells me not to overeact, and it tells me to let children be children because they’re only young once. It manages to be knowledgeable and authoritative without being patronising or critical.
It is the voice of Flop.
Flop is the childminding knitted toy with vaguely rabbit like features, such as floppy ears, who cares for Biny Bunny, the “toddler” rabbit.
It should be creepy or weird, and at first I found it a little annoying, but as Miss Rose gave her heart fully to this strange set up, I found myself turning to Flop for guidance more and more.
Children are frustrating. They don’t listen, they do the opposite of what you say just to see what happens, and they push you and push you just because they can.
When Bing is told to be careful with his book, he still throws it in the bath. My reaction would be a “OH NO! Oh Rose! Why did you do that? I told you not to throw the book now it’s all wet!” before sighing and putting it to dry with an exasperated tut. Flop? No. He just calmly expresses sadness that it happened, and explains that Bing will have to look at a different book now.
Flop’s way is better. Flop manages to show Bing that what he did was wrong and that because of that he now doesn’t get to have what he wanted, be read that specific book. Miss Rose would be given the same information but without the calm and gentle style ofthat knitted toy.
Patience is a virtue and I believe I am pretty patient compared to many. I don’t often lose my cool, I’m not very shouty, and I generally am able to explain to her why things she’s doing are wrong and how to sort out the problem. But sometimes? Sometimes it’s just too much. Flop never loses his cool.
I give myself a hard time about it because I hate it when I do shout. I hate it. She hates it. In so many ways it accomplishes nothing except to get us both upset and not resolve the initial problems in the first place. However, there is a degree of forgiveness I afford myself.
Miss Rose likes to push. Not always, usually she’s pretty good just a bit mischevious, other times she will go out of her way to challenge everything I say and do.
We have shelves in our living room. On the top of the shelves are the grown up books and DVDs, on bottom shelves are the kids books and DVDs. I like to leave them within reach because they kids love their books and I want them to be able to develop a love for books and words that I have by freely looking at any books that interest them.
This is a marvellous theory in principal until they discover they can infact pull all the books off the shelves then dance around on them like warriors on the bones of their enermy. Miss Rose has a battle cry of “Da da da da DAH da! Da da da DAH da!” whilst Z giggles hysterically and follows her round in circles.
The first time it was cute. The Boy and I were tired and let them get away with it purely because they were happy and entertained and we could drink coffee and chat in peace for a bit.
Big mistake. Flop would have explained it was wrong from the start. Flop would have calmly told them that books are to be respected, the written word is beautiful, and that they need to put them back on the shelves then get one down at a time to look at.
Unforunately I ignored my inner Flop.
I am now left with two children who consider book yanking and dancing to be the best game ever. Despite constant “no”, “no”, “put those back”, “put those back now”, “Rose don’t be a bad influence”, “Z don’t you do it either”, “no”, it is still a regular battle.
It is such a regular battle that eventually I turn from calm but frustrated “no” to a frustrated screech of “OH MY GOD STOP DOING THAT RIGHT NOW!”
I don’t like screaming at her. I really don’t. But I forgive myself to a certain degree because at some point she needs to learn that she will provoke genuine anger in others with bad behaviour. That mummy is human and can be pushed over the edge. That adults have limits and she needs to respect and understand where and what they are.
I am not an animated soft toy. I don’t have writers creating the perfect response to an irritating toddler in my head and feeding me lines that are the ideal parenting form. I don’t because I’m human, and being human means I cry, I shout, and I fail. Sometimes I am not the best mum I could be and, much as I hate it, I know it is not the end of the world.
What would Flop do? That is the question I ask myself when presented with a destructive, argumentative little girl with a wicked glint in her eye. Flop would handle it. He would handle it calmly, he would handle it efficiently, and he would handle it well. Do I always manage to follow my inner Flop’s advice? No. But do I try? Yes.
Losing your calm is okay sometimes… you’re only human. But Flop… well, that is one lucky little Bing Bunny.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!