The Art Of The Overreaction

Howdy! Now listen. This post goes out to all the parents of big kids. You know, the ones with actual cheekbones and legs that seem to go on forever. The ones who write endless reams of song lyrics and only seem to communicate about motherfucking Minecraft. Yeah, the ones who strut about thinking they’re all that and a bag of chips, but still look like the babies they used to be when they’re asleep.

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Sigh.

So, for all the parents nodding in recognition to that last paragraph, I have a message for you.

You are literally ruining your children’s lives.

Yeah, that told you! And that’s from the gospel according to my beloved and barely pre-pubescent daughter.

No bullshit to be seen here.

To all the people who haven’t hit this stage yet, bloody lucky you! And to everyone who is still dwelling in the peace of that blissful, slightly moist haven of babyhood… Fare thee well, and Godspeed!

Or, you know, stick around. It always pays to be prepared.

Let me clarify this for you. If I were to explain Big Girl’s situation in a word, it would be ‘catastrophisation.’

Yes, I am aware that I may have made that word up. OK, I’m definitely sure! But it’s a really appropriate word, so there.

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Pffffffft!

I wish I could tell you that I’m sorry for that freak ass picture. But yeah, I’m not. Not one little bit.

Big Girl is the queen of this ‘catastrophisation’ crap at the moment. (Man, that word is hard to type!) She’s a whirling ball of hair tossing, eye rolling, hip cocking melodrama.

Oh, for God’s sake. Fair enough, let’s take a pause while all you puerile beings giggle because I said ‘cock.’

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<judgy face> Pathetic.

Done? Thank you!

Now, I’m not saying I don’t love watching Big Girl grow and develop. I love that I can have a conversation with her that ventures beyond the topic of toilet humour, and into more interesting subjects. And I think it’s great that she’s developed the ability to feign complete fascination with said ‘interesting subjects.’ She’s super fun!

But dear God, do not cross her.

I don’t know if it’s the start of the hormonal rollercoaster of adolescence or if I just have me an assertive, outspoken little person. Because everything I do that isn’t completely in keeping with her ideas is the biggest disaster ever.

Take the other day, for example. I’d class it as a day that had passed successfully. In other words, nobody suffered a possibly fatal injury and I spent no hours obsessing about the mistakes I’d made and regretting things I’d said.

You know, standard.

Well, Big Girl had been playing outside with one of her friends when I called her in for her dinner. As I opened the door, she got down on her knees (because obviously that’s the only way to ask me anything. Note that down for future reference) and begged me to allow her to have her friend over for a sleepover. That night.

Now, this other kid is lovely and a pleasure to be around. But am I really going to be organising impromptu sleepovers at 6 o’clock in the evening?

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That’s a no.

Big Girl didn’t take this so well. What ensued a huffing, puffing stomp interspersed with cries of, “You’re so unfair!” as she took off her shoes. Every time I spoke I had my head bitten off, while I channeled my inner calm person (who actually wasn’t on holiday this time!) Finally I’d had enough, and told her she could join us at the table when she was able to speak to me properly.

Whoa! So that was the wrong approach, apparently.

Gasp! <insert incredulous face here> “But what about my DINNER?!” she yelled.

Me: “Well, you can come in and have it when you have calmed down.”

Her: “What? Fine, I guess I’ll just have to STARVE to death!”

Yes, starve. You heard her correctly, folks. According to Calamity Girl, a well-nourished seven year old can expire when made to wait ten minutes for a meal.

Did not know that. Well, when you know better, you do better. Right, Maya Angelou? Close call there!

So to all you evil, neglectful parents that are starving your growing little waifs… Fuck you! You bastards.

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I can’t even look at you right now.

Then, there’s the lying. And this is not elaborately spun webs of deceit I’m talking about here. This is dumbass, pointless, ridiculously obvious falsehoods that an even partially trained monkey could unpick.

This really does baffle me. I mean, what’s the point? I think it all begins when children reach the age when they start to assume their parents are idiots who know pretty much zilch. When you start to sing along to a song that was out about fifteen years before they were born and they turn to you and incredulously exclaim, ” How do you know this song?”

Just so you know, that’s about six months before the stage where singing in public becomes a sackable offence. And that is about six months before just being in public with them is a crime against humanity.

The things you know!

Big Girl is an expert in stupid ass lies. The kind where she thinks she’s surely going to get away with it because I’m on the toilet, or screaming into a pillow.

What, you don’t do that? Well, whatever. You should really try it though.

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I’ll hear a yell drift up the stairs from the squeaky foghorn I like to call Little Girl. “Muuuuuuum! Big Girl took my toyyyyyyy!” Insert desperate howls of sorrow here.

(Honestly, sometimes I’d like to find out how my kids would react if an actual bad thing happened to them. Based on current reactions, I’d have to guess that their heads would explode.)

When I get into the room, I find Big Girl sitting on the couch with what can only be described as a completely fake innocent look plastered all over her face. By which I mean, looking guilty as fuck. And, of course, clutching the aforementioned toy in her fists.

“What’s going on?” I ask. I’m giving her an out here, you see. This is her chance to admit to what she’s done, make it right and leave me the hell out of it.

So of course she takes it! Job done.

Well, not quite. Usually, it goes a bit more like this:

Little Girl: “Big Girl took my toy. I was playing with it!” Of course her eyes are generally leaking by this point. Little Girl and confrontation… Not really a good mix.

Big Girl: (with a gasp of shock and affront) “I didn’t!”

Big Girl: “I didn’t! I DIDN’T! Oh, why don’t you believe me? You are so unfair. I DIDN’T!!” To further emphasise her point, she waves the stolen toy in  the air.

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Methinks someone doth protest to much. Amirite?

I doesn’t take a detective to work out what’s going on here. But still there’s always that shadow of doubt. What if I am being really unfair here? What if Little Girl has suddenly acquired the ability to lie without me noticing, and is using it (naturally) for evil?

There’s only one way to find out. So I say that look on Big Girl. The one that says, “Mama knows.” I wish I could take a picture of this look for reference. It’s a good look! But that would require effort on my part. So, no.

Unvariably, what happens next is that a small voice pipes up with, “I did.” The faux innocent mask drops from Big Girl’s face, only to be replaced by regret. And, I imagine, a little surprise that I figured out her scheme. Because I’m an idiot, remember?

And then she returns the toy, and life goes on. Which, I regularly point out to her, would happen a lot quicker if she just told the bloody truth in the first place!

Kids, right?

Finally, of course, I cannot finish this post without talking about the whining. The fucking whining. Gah! Who knew words could contain so many vowels?

What do you mean, what do I mean? Are you freaking serious?

I’m talking about this. “Buuuuuuuut Muuuuuuuuuum, I don’t want to be first in the showerrrrrrrrrrrr!”

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You get me?

It goes through my head like nails on a blackboard. It’s so high-pitched! And how can they even hold enough air in their lungs to say all that without taking a breath?

Big Girl is a champion whiner. And who can blame her? The kid has a hard life, you know. Minecraft videos don’t just watch themselves. And when you’ve got two demonic underlings sisters getting under your feet… well, it’s no picnic!

But God, she doesn’t half take it to epic levels. You’d think every task she had to do was the worst form of torture. Picking up clothes, tidying up after herself, and don’t even get me started on  homework! Everything is so unfaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiir. None of her friends have to help out around the house. Oh, and without a doubt aaaaaall of them are allowed to do exactly what they want at all times.

Right?

Well, I don’t give a crap. One of the advantages of dragging yourself into adulthood is that you get to call the shots. End of. But just occasionally, I would like half of my conversations with Big Girl not to go like this:

Big Girl: <in voice that sounds like a dolphin try to speak English> “I don’t want to do myyyyyy homewoooooooork! It’s too haaaaaaard!”

Me: “Could you say that again? I can’t understand what you’re saying through all that whining.”

Big Girl: <same voice> “I don’t want to do my hooooommmmewooooooork!”

Me: “You’re still whining.”

Big Girl: <same voice> Nooooo I’m noooooooot! This is my normal vooooiiiiiice!”

Fuck it.

So did it ring any bells for you guys? Do you have a teenager in a child’s body? Have you bitten your tongue so many times recently that it has permanent grooves on it?

I’m not, then I’m glad for you. But you’ve got it coming. Get ready! And for anyone who recognises their much younger child in this post: Well done, your kid is like, super advanced! Also: ha ha.

Man, I can’t wait for the actual teenage years. Hey, maybe Big Girl will have got it out of her system by then!

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Shut up! A woman can dream.

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