Tag Archives: strangers passing judgement

The Slap – my version (without the affairs, brutish thugs and damaged women)

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I don’t do smacking. That’s just the way I roll.

But today I crumbled. I’ve done it before and it tears my insides out, sending me into a spin of self-punishment via caffeine, fat, sugar and salt.

I’m tired, sure. I’m a little preoccupied with the ocean of things I want to do vs the teaspoon of things I get to, sure. But that is no excuse, is it?

There’s just some days that I can’t stop the reflex. Little Lion pushes his sister so she smashes her head on the wall, I respond with comfort for her, a short and stern expression of my disapproval to him and I walk away to focus on Blossom. No attention for attention-seeking behaviour. No focus on inappropriate actions coupled with praise and lavishing attention on the good stuff, right?

But he shoves her twice. I’m tired. I don’t have what it takes today, so when he stares at me, opens his mouth wide and buries his teeth into Blossom’s head, I snap. I smack him. His eyes flood with tears and he screams, fire spitting from his eyes.

“Oooooowww! Mummy NO hit LL! Why you hit LL?! NO HIT LL!” and he smacks me back.

I am instantly sick to my stomach. He’s right. Why did I hit him? I shouldn’t hit him. He’s small and frustrated and lashing out in the only way he knows how. He’s asking for help, not for punishment. But I can’t give it. Not today.

So the drama fades. The moment passes and I eat half a pack of Allen’s Chews to camouflage the knot in my gut. He starts drilling Blossom’s back. I divert attention, create a game, do the good mother thing. It lasts 5 minutes.

He’s restless. So we go to the shops. He’s happy… For a while.

We’re in Woolworths. The pasta aisle. He “cuddles” Blossom when I am not looking for the third time, choking her until she cries. I hiss a warning with the finger pointed at him. He roars, pure fury, and again buries his fangs into Blossom’s head. Again, I snap and crack him on the arm.

He sends up a wail that shakes the sauce jars on their shelves. Other shoppers scurry from the aisle. They avert their gaze. It’s too embarrassing to look at the mother who has lost control – of herself and her children. I am determined not to scamper away in shame. I am determined to finish my shopping, screaming duo or not.

And I do. And I stalk calmly to the car, denying LL a ride on Thomas, chocolate milk, ice blocks or treats of any kind. I don’t want to feel guilty for being weak, but smacking my poor little boy just because it’s the easier option, just because it releases the fury in me is no better than him releasing his fury on his little sister, is it? So I gorge on McDonalds for lunch, coke and chocolate through the afternoon, drinks at night, not enjoying any of it, feeling toxic and yet shoving more and more and more down my throat.

Because I should feel bad. Really bad.

(OK, so maybe there is one damaged woman in this story!)

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Bite Me

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Dear Jean and Joe Average,

Here’s a taboo topic for you: My son, the Little Lion, occasionally bites his sister. So bite me. Does that make me a bad mother? Does that make him a bad little boy? Will we all go to Hell in a pea green boat because my poor little two-year-old is finding it hard to express his very strong emotions in a socially acceptable manner?

It doesn’t happen often, but judging by the reaction from you onlookers, you would think he had just bludgeoned her to death with his “noi”.

Your eyes widen, you gasp and squeal and tut, “Oh my!” and “Oh dear!” and “What will you do with him?” and “What will he be like when he’s older?!”. I don’t know, should I banish him to the desert? Tie his feet to cement blocks and throw him off the pier? Dear God, he may grow up to be a cannibal! Or maybe a vampire! Well, here’s hoping he’ll unleash his fury on you next, you imbecile.

It’s hard enough for me to control my urge to throw LL across the room for hurting my baby Blossom while also dealing with the ache that my first born is so distressed that he has to lash out in this way. So I sure as hell don’t need to hear you judge and label my little boy.

He’s not “A Biter” because he occasionally bites as much as he is not “An Angel” because he occasionally does as he’s asked. He’s not “A Chatterbox” because he enjoys a conversation, he’s not “Gay” because he likes to wear necklaces and carry handbags, and he’s not “Naughty” because he enjoys deliberately defying his mother. He is an average little boy trying to figure out this very confusing world full of terrible, frightening, challenging experiences for which he has not yet learned the coping mechanisms that we grown ups take for granted.

In fact, truth be known, I sometimes wish I could turf the stupid social filters that make me suppress my more animal urges. It would be wildly satisfying to bare my teeth, snarl and lunge at you self-righteous turds as you tut ruefully at the little mark on Blossom’s arm.

I won’t bite him back, I won’t wallop him and I won’t publicly humiliate him. You do what you like with your kids. I’m dealing with “this issue” my own way – my son will know his boundaries, he will feel safe enough to express his emotions freely, and he will have healthy strategies to cope with difficult feelings (rather than being forced to repress them and later stifle them with addictions of one kind or another) and he will know that he is loved no matter what.

These are big, hard lessons to learn and they will take some time. In the meantime, you can fuck right off with your suggestions.

With mildly masked disdain,

Lioness Fang.

Trolleys and Tribulations

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There is only one way to single-handedly do the groceries with my Little Lion and  Blossom in tow: with Blossom strapped safely in the trolley capsule and Lion standing in the little sectioned off part at the front of the trolley, pretending to drive.

So I was pushing, Blossom was staring at the lights with wide-eyed horror and Little Lion was commenting as he helped me select apples, dropping them into the bag with a dainty little “drop!… drop!… drop!…” It’s his latest word and he is very proud of it. I was very proud of the picture of motherly perfection I was with my happy little troupe. The occasional “Oh, what a good little helper!” I got from the elderly shoppers reaching past me to get a banana or two only bolstered my self-satisfaction. Who would have though grocery shopping could be fun?!

My little bliss bubble floated me from oranges to capsicum, from broccoli to onion where a terse stare and a grunt from an overly bejewelled beeshive with horseriding jodpurs burst that bubble. What’s her problem? It’s not as though the Lion was smearing snotty fingers all over her parsnips (something he has done in the past, making my guilty conscience buy the damned things). I didn’t even get such scorn last summer when he carefully selected the biggest mango he could find and bit right into it while I had my back turned. By the time I got back to the trolley with my bag of peaches, he had squished half the mango onto the floor and the other half all over his tummy. My only penance was a few awkward chuckles from passers-by, a number of comments on the Lion’s good taste and a whole roll of paper towel with which to clean up the mess. So why the scorn this time? I put it down to the poor wretch having too much Botox in all the wrong places and moved on.

Until a similar snarl greeted me in the pasta section and then another in the frozen foods. What was wrong with these people? Blossom wasn’t even crying and my Little Lion, by this time, was making perfectly inoffensive bruuuuummmmm-ing sounds between randomly greeting strangers with a forceful “HELLO!” uttered more like a command than a pleasantry. They were cute, we were cute, so what was their problem?!

By the time I began unloading at the checkout, I was agitated. The one time I actually felt like I’d got it together, a bunch of strangers in need of attitude adjustments made me wonder what I was doing wrong. It was the spritely checkout chick with too many opinions and not enough tact that clarified the problem for me.

“How are you today?” she chirped without looking up.

“Fine thanks,” I replied into my trolley, carefully avoiding the Vegemite fingers reaching for my hair.

“Oh!” she exclaimed,”You know you really shouldn’t have him in the trolley like that. They have ones with the proper seat next to the capsule, coz it’s really dangerous,” and she turned her gaze on my son, “and we wouldn’t want you hurting yourself, would we?”

I wanted to vomit. So that was it?

“Ah well…” I stammered. My tongue left me. My brain froze and all the wonderful things I could have said, should have said, would have said, evaporated in the burn in my cheeks.

And that was the end of my part in the conversation. She continued with stories of ‘friends’ (indeed, I doubted she had any) whose children were maimed by runaway trolleys, how she thought those side-by-side numbers were such a good idea for us poor mothers with our hands full, how she would never venture to have children any less than five years apart because she was sure it would be emotionally scarring to lose mother’s attention so early in life, and so on and so on. I comforted myself with the thought that she was an ignorant turd just long enough to pay the bill and grimace a smile as she wished me a nice day, then vented my fury on a huge iced doughnut (of which my Little Lion ate a lion’s share – yes I am the worst mother on the planet, so bite me!)

I wonder if she, and the others whose scornful glances I encountered, would have felt differently about my son’s shotgun ride had they witnessed the alternative. Those side-by-side numbers are, firstly, designed for pigmy children, and secondly, do not allow for the exclusion zone necessary to prevent Little Lion from attempting brain surgery on Blossom via the nose or eye-ball. Granted, the exclusion zone is an afternoon thing – he plays nicely with the baby in the mornings – and perhaps I should limit shopping excursions to a time when his enthusiasm doesn’t get the better of him as quickly, and perhaps I should use one of those baby carriers to provide Blossom with the best possible protection, BUT I CHOSE NOT TO! So butt out!

Next time I will be prepared with a store of gentle responses that don’t make me feel like a helpless doormat:

“Oh, well I was actually hoping he might fall so I could sue your ass and make a million.”

“Yeah, but all the side-by-side trolleys were taken up by your ‘friends’.”

“Oh, really? I thought they made the little sectioned off bits especially for kids to ride in.”

“Sweetheart, mind your own fucking business and live a little…”

Anyone got any more ideas?