Mother Fluker

A Migrant Mother's Musings

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Feet on the ground.

The advent of two-year-old-ness is never more apparent than in the incarnation of the Fearsome Tantrum, something that H is becoming impressively skilled at. Tantrums reduce me to a mental state somehow encompassing panic, annoyance, resignation and dread all at once, as I frantically try all the distraction techniques I can muster in the few seconds it takes for him to spiral into full-blown lost-it rage. It's not helped by remembering all the years that I stared disdainfully at other parents thinking "For God's sake! Why aren't they DOING something about that noise!" when their screaming brats were interrupting my thought processes in the supermarket. Now I catch other people casting the same glances in my red-faced direction. Karma.

Some of the biggest wobblies thrown by H are caused by the advent of something new and unexpected to wear. Cruel parental impositions such as long sleeves and long trousers after a summer of running around in t-shirts and shorts are greeted with outraged howling and disbelief, followed by shaking purple rage and floods of tears. Sometimes it's hard to know whether to laugh or cry myself, such are the Shakespearian proportions of the tragedy. Anyway, this tendency on H's part to lose the plot has made me plan ahead and use every manipulative strategy I can think of to avoid Tantrum Turmoil (while attempting to remain firm, consistent and kind, ha ha, I don't sit glued to Supernanny for nothing).

Although often still beautifully warm during the day, it's pretty chilly in the mornings and evenings. We have a tiled floor and H's feet are like little ice blocks as he runs around, so I decided to buy him some slippers. But I knew the chances of him agreeing to wear them spontaneously were zero. So I inveigled D to take part in the Selling The Slippers Challenge, a staged promotions act entered into under H's gaze as he ate his breakfast.

"Oh! Just look at these SLIPPERS Daddy!" I trilled, holding out the seven dollar KMart selection for admiration.

"Wow! Those SLIPPERS look AMAZING!" D sportingly agreed.

"Yes, they could be the most BEAUTIFUL SLIPPERS in Australia!"

"Or the whole WORLD!"

We both gazed longingly at the slippers in a concentrated haze of adulation. "I can honestly say I've never seen such fantastic slippers, EVER!"

"They are so soft and lovely!" cooed D, rubbing the slippers over his face. "I can't believe they are too small for ME! I wonder who they might fit?"

"Yes, just look at how the tops of the slippers are BLUE and the soles are RED! How cool is THAT?"

"If only I could put these slippers onto my chilly feet, I bet they would be so cosy and comfortable!"

We carried on this Oscar winning performance for a good few minutes while H watched us suspiciously, then I placed the items of desire on the floor and waited to see what would happen. Sure enough, H soon decided the slippers merited further inspection. I held my breath while he gingerly pointed his toe into one of them. A few minutes later he consented to me helping put both slippers on his feet. Then he ran around the room hopping from one foot to the other, with a delighted smile on his face while I proclaimed appropriately lavish praise and envy.

Ah, this must be one of highlights of motherhood, I thought. This parenting lark is EASY! All I have to do is mess with his head! What a genius mother I am! I briefly contemplated a career as a demonstrator on TVSN. Dammit, if I could sell those hideous nylon slippers to a two-year old footwearphobe, then what couldn't I do?

My elation lasted right until the point when I tried to take his slippers OFF at the end of the day. What, remove the magic slippers? You'd have thought I wanted to tweeze out his kidneys through his nostrils. Screams, fury, desperation ensued. He wanted to wear these slippers in the bath, to bed, for the rest of his life!

Turns out there is such a thing as over-selling. He's so fixated with the damn things now he'll probably require surgery to remove them before he starts school.