Wednesday 21 May 2014


There is a comedian named Louis CK that is very funny, if you haven’t heard his stand-up, look him up for a good laugh. Anyway, he does a bit about children that will resonate profoundly with most parents out there. The gist: before becoming a parent himself, he used to see kids having a tantrum and parents yelling at them and think to himself, ‘that poor child, what on earth did those mean parents do to him.’ Now that he has kids, when he sees a kid in a store flipping out over something, he thinks to himself as he looks at the mother, ‘that poor poor woman, what did that mean child do to her this time.’ I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist.

As most parents out there know, there comes a point in parenting when you realize that not only is parenting a challenge that tests you from every angle, but some days you will seriously contemplate selling your child on eBay (calm down, I love my kid, I’m not going to sell him unless I get a really high offer for him). Of late, the King has become, well, a total and utter dictator. My husband and I have prided ourselves on the fact that for the most part, the King skated through the milestone phases with very little fanfare. He was obstinate, sure, and had his bout of tantrums, but nothing like what we’d see when we were out and about. We would almost sigh to one another in relief behind closed doors as if we’d dodged some unruly child bullet. Then, as if the universe was simply bored (or the King was), the King decided it was time to see if the Kingdom was really paying attention. Gone was Mr. sweet and agreeable that sang to me for an hour in the morning and in his place was 'Mr. I’m Turning Four so you can stick your plans, wishes and directives where the sun don’t shine.' Obviously I’m exaggerating, but in the heat of his 45-minute meltdowns of late, it has certainly felt that way. The even more maddening part was that the King, in his shrewdness, saved this metamorphosis for my husband and I alone. Out on the streets, he knew well enough to remain the happy go lucky kid, so as not to ruin his reputation. (Their sagacity is so underestimated). 

As any parent will attest (if they’re being honest), the love you have for your kid is unwavering, but the like, well that comes and goes with the wind – I’m thinking this really kicks in when one’s child becomes a teenager. So, at the moment, when the King is flipping his lid because he wants to ride home from school in a taxi (AS IF. No self respecting Londoner takes taxis, unless its on someone else's dime) or he doesn’t like how I’ve cut his apple (I never said his requests were rational), I think to myself, you know what little person, you’re not exactly my top choice of people to hang out with right now. The worst part about this is like any phase you think, this is it; this is your kid from now on. Gone is the sweet, tactile, goofy kid I once loved to saunter down the street with and in his place is the Tasmanian devil jacked up on testosterone and sheer blinding preschooler will.

The other humorous thing that begins to happen is that no matter how much you dig your heels in as a parent (and trust me, I’m of stubborn stock myself) so that these little despots don’t completely take over, you find yourself walking on egg shells just so you don’t step on a landmine. Often my husband and I will usurp the other’s authority just to keep the peace (note to self: a united front is the ONLY way, the King is far too smart for this and will divide and conquer). “Oh come on, just recut the apple into a C shape, please, can’t you see he’s going to blow!!” This of course is not the best course of action, but to avoid a tantrum that will make that one hour feel like four, sometimes you find yourself caving to the capricious whims of these little creatures.

So at the moment, I am deep breathing, reminding myself that no phase lasts forever, and am desperately trying to find the humor in all this, like the King clearly does. The other day after a 45 minute crying fest over…that time I think he didn’t like how I put the corn on his plate…he looked at me, having collected himself, with dry, smiling eyes and said, ‘Mummy, I was just pretending to cry….can I watch my movie now?’

Ah, the King, such a likeable little despot.

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