This one is a mixed bag! strap in, keep up and enjoy!
The days between me last seeing the cubs and my weekend had dragged. The Thursday pick-up couldn’t come soon enough.
The after-school club collection was the usual long hugs and excited storytelling. The immediacy of filling in the last seven days crammed the next few minutes. Youngest however maintained his usual reserved stance.
How was school?
What was your most favourite part?
‘Some of it’
What was your least favourite part?
‘None of it’
Ok. Good to catch up.
‘So what’s the plan this weekend dad?’ eldest chipped in; recognising that her brother would yield no more for now.
On Saturday, we’re going to a Kung Fu lesson, then on Sunday we’re going to do a ParkRun. Youngest quickly found his tongue.
‘I already know Kung Fu dad!’ he replied cheerfully. I expected an explanation in line with his recent, I can drive now dad as I’ve seen you do it loads of times; you just press that button and turn the wheel a bit and hey-presto, but his conclusion hit even a well seasoned, left-field receiver like me.
‘When someone turns around, you punch them in the back; then when they turn again, you kick them in the stomach!’
His sister was reduced to hysterical laughter whilst I shook my head in disbelief. That’s not quite right darling; I think we’d better wait until class to learn the correct way. Until then, no punching or kicking anyone please. He tilted his head, before nodding ok.
As it’s the weekend, and training doesn’t begin until 13:00, morning routine is changed. Lie ins all round, apart from youngest, who found his into my bed bright and early. It was still dark outside so we decided to share an audiobook via headphones.
Everybody gets porridge. It’s going to be a high energy day so we all need slow release. They’re then headed into the shower, while I pull out some suitable fightwear.
Things seem to be taking a long time and despite beginning early, I feel the advantage slipping away. My ire rises and I start snapping. He’s ready; I’m in full uniform but she is in her underwear. I then notice a squeezed tube of toothpaste on her floor. I become extremely irritated. We’d had new carpet fitted a couple of months ago and I’d already chastised her for wandering around and brushing her teeth, dropping toothpaste on the carpet.
She’s scolded, and told to hurry up. Whilst she grabs her bag of bits, I pull the rest of our packed lunch together. Neither for love nor for money, will youngest put his coat on. Then he can’t find his shoes; I suggest that looking may help. Then she has no trainers, as they’ve all been left at mummy’s. I ensure that she has good socks on then give her some casual slip ons to wear. We head to the car.
As I strap her brother in, her tablet needs charging so her second action, after belting herself in is to seek out the USB socket in the centre console. To do this, she has to lift the soft armrest. I get in the car and hit my elbow on the now exposed edge. I snap..
YOU TWO ARE REALLY ANNOYING ME TODAY!
It’s fifteen miles before anyone speaks. They both had their heads buried in electronic devices but the tension was palpable.
‘Dad; I’m sorry that you find us annoying. We don’t mean to be’
Eldest’s words cut like a knife.
No darling; I’m sorry. It’s not that I find you annoying at all, it’s just that sometimes your actions can frustrate me; usually I can deal with it but today I had an outburst and that wasn’t right.
To complete the emotional triangle, youngest chips in;
‘Do you still like us?’
That hurt; a lot. And so it should. I’d fallen so far below my standards of parenting. It was a rapid reminder of the power of words on young minds. I had to repair this; fast.
Listen; I love you two more than anything and that never ever changes; I do get frustrated at times and very, very rarely, I say something like that that I immediately regret. It’s a reaction, rather than a response. A response means that I’ve thought before I’ve spoken; a reaction means I’ve spoken before I’ve thought, but never, ever forget this; there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for having you too wonderful people in my life and I will never stop loving you.
I learnt a lesson today and I have a theory. My words and actions will probably work to erase my harsh outburst but I fear that it takes a number of congruent actions over a length of time to build back that trust to 100%
Be mindful of how you interact with little minds.
On the way home
Kung Fu transpired to be a mixed affair. He had an abundance of energy and a shortage of concentration; exactly what you’d expect in a 5 year old. She was better placed having taken Karate lessons a few years back. We kept it at falling correctly, kicking and punching.
I decided to call time after the umpteenth time of being asked for snacks, a break, water, a pop to Aunty’s and anything else to get away from my instruction. It wasn’t bad for a first attempt.
A quick visit to relatives and we headed home.
All of us are chatty, discussing the lesson, the chocolate we ate at Aunty’s and what we were going to do tomorrow. Without trainers for her, the ParkRun was postponed. Not the whole thing obviously.
‘Mum has a new boyfriend! he’s taller than you and has a nickname!’
Good for mum. With the exception of wanting to know who is around my cubs, I have little interest.
‘The last one she had didn’t stick around too long though! she wants to get married but I’ve told her that I don’t want a stepbrother or sister! one is annoying enough!’
I chuckle. She continues.
‘I’m not sure about her plan is but she can’t just keep rummaging around in men like that; it can’t be doing her any good’
Admittedly, at this point I nearly crash the car for laughing. We’re driving on the motorway, through the narrow lanes of roadworks too.
The whole car is full of laughter, and nothing makes me happier.
Laughter is such a great sign and for us, as a family it seems to be our greatest medicine.
As for their mum, I wish her every success in her quest…