“Don’t Do That At School, Okay?”

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I find myself saying this more and more lately. I can’t help but think that this reflects badly on me. Or us, at least.

Luckily, I don’t give a crap. Much.

It really is becoming a catchphrase. Along with, “Don’t jump off that!” and “Squeak is not a toy, she’s a baby!” During my frequent and riveting daydreams, I sometimes fantasise about making a recording of these sentences, that I can replay as required. There’s no harm in wanting to do a bit of breath-saving, right?

I have been lucky with my children, because they are mainly ‘indoor trouble-causers.’ That is, they tend to save all of their misbehaviour and rabble-rousing for while we are at home. Normally when we are out and about, they put on their cute faces and proceed to melt the hearts of anybody they come across.

At home, it is a whole other story.

Despite the fact that they usually behave outdoors, there are a few transgressions. For example, Little Girl’s meltdown in the smallest shop in town yesterday. She flopped to the floor, yelling as loudly as she could. Not awesome. But it worked out ok in the end. Because I was there.

At school, on the other hand, they are free to shame and embarrass me as they see fit. Yes, the teachers will correct their behaviour and discipline them. But by then, it’s already happened.

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So when certain things happen at home, I feel the need to say, “Don’t do that at school, okay?” Just in case. There are only so many excruciatingly embarrassing conversations that I want to have with their teachers.

One example is from Insult Tennis. After I had giggled my head off at being called a ‘boring vagina,’ I said it. Can you imagine how the teacher would react if Big Girl said that at school? I can. Oh yes, I can.

And when she called Mark a ‘boring penis’ later on that evening, I first paused to admire her use of context. Then, I said it again.

Little Girl has only been at school for one term. At her parents’ meeting, they said she had settled in well, and seemed to be enjoying herself. Of course I was proud, but I also couldn’t help but think, which bits aren’t they telling me?

I’m not saying she’s not a fab kid. She is, and overall she’s pretty well-behaved. But she is also three years old. Show me a three year old who’s skilled in social graces.

Mine most certainly isn’t.

The first thing I have tried to remind her not to do at school is nose-picking. Little Girl is a champion nose-picker. Or at least, she spends most of her time bloody doing it!

For about four months I have been trying to get her to stop. I am failing. Miserably. I can’t say I’m particularly angsting over it, though. In a list of bad habits that kids have, I’d say nose-picking probably comes out at #1.

But it’s so gross! So I am working on it. But I can imagine that at school she enjoys unfettered nasal access. Ugh. This is why, as I kiss her goodbye, I say, “Don’t pick your nose at school, okay?”

It’s worth a try.

That’s nothing compared to the other things I’m hoping she doesn’t do at school. I’m lucky that she’s not really a hitter, or a biter, or a pusher. Most of the time, anyway.

What Little Girl is, is an ‘undresser.’

Who, me?

Who, me?

When she had her introductory session at preschool, I was asked if she is able to go to the toilet independently. I said yes, because she is. But… (there’s always a but!)

She does have a penchant for stripping off afterwards. Pulling up knickers, tights and a skirt is a fairly arduous task, and it’s not one that she has any time for. So after using the toilet, she just tends to discard the bottom half of her clothes. Then she runs back downstairs, literally butt naked, to carry on playing.

This is fine at home. I mean, she might get a little cold because I am stingy with the heating, but other than that, no problem! I cannot say the same for school. I doubt they would be all that impressed with a half-naked child.

When she does it at home, I either leave her or help her to get dressed again if we’re due to go out soon. And as I do that, I say, “Don’t take your clothes off at school, okay?”

Little Girl excelled herself with this last one, which she did just the other day at home. I have no idea where she got the idea from.

She was dancing, I think. Little Girl loves to dance. She bounces around, grinning her head off. It is very sweet. Round and round the playroom she went, somehow avoiding a foot injury from the many small toys strewn across the floor.

Squeak was sitting amongst said toys. I’d like to say she was playing with them, but what she was actually doing was probably searching for something small enough to wedge into her cheek. She does that.

Suddenly, Little Girl stopped dancing. She walked over to Squeak with a mischievous smile on her face. Then she pulled her pants down, and wiggled her naked butt right in Squeak’s face.

Squeak was unimpressed.

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Please, please, let her not repeat that one at school.

That’s all for now. Don’t even ask me about their habit of Gangnam Styling over Squeak every time she falls over.

I know they’re not perfect. I expect mistakes as they learn about social interaction. But for God’s sake, “Don’t do that at school, okay???”

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My Kids Are Into Public Shaming

Excuse yesterday’s radio silence, we were busy decorating the living room with festive sparkly crap. Normal service is resumed.

A lot of public shaming goes on within my family. Don’t get me wrong, I do not do it to the kids. That is not my kind of shit. But they have no problem with doing it to me.

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All the freaking time.

Take yesterday, for example. We were picking Big Girl up late because she had gymnastics after school. Little Girl was tired. Shattered in fact. That kid is suffering badly from almost-the-end-of-term-itis.

Most of the walk went ok. We chatted and picked up stones and dodged around dog crap. The usual. But then as we reached school, she decided to mix it up a bit.

By ripping her hand out of mine while we were halfway across the road.

Luckily there were no cars coming, but obviously I had to have words. I have to put my hands up here and admit that I goofed.

I may, or may not, have asked her to listen.

‘Listen’ is Little Girl’s trigger word. If she hears it, she has to immediately do the opposite. For ages. At that moment, I didn’t have ages.DSC_0498

So there she was, blank-faced and stubbornly refusing to come anywhere near me. And time was ticking away. I did what any parent would do, and went to take her hand and lead her up the street.

Quick as a flash, she twisted away from me and threw herself onto the floor. And the way she did it made it look like I had just shoved her over.

Thanks for that.

I lifted her up off the floor and started walking her to the school. She utterly refused to hold my hand, so I held her wrist. Loosely, I might add. As we went through the gates, she started to shriek, “Ow! OW, you’re hurting me! That huuuurts!”

For shame.

Then she flopped to the floor again. And made it look like I pushed her again. Twice.

I did not know that someone could be so damn good at this.

I stood there, face burning. I couldn’t see myself at that point, but I’m pretty sure I was pinking up. Parents I know started to walk past, and I smiled and greeted them. All the while, Little Girl kicked and howled.

I was not epic parenting that day.

The good news is that she did calm down after, oh, fifteen minutes or so. And then proceeded to trip and fall flat on her face three (yes, three!) times on the way home.

Never have I been so relieved to see my own front door. I’m never leaving the house again.

The next story is about Little Girl again. I think public shaming is a very 3 year old thing to do.

We were out shopping for dinner supplies. As we wandered around the shops, I chatted to her about what we were going to do for the rest of the day. She didn’t give a crap, but I find it stops me from accidentally falling asleep standing up.

“When we’ve picked up Big Girl,” I said, “I’ll make us some nice dinner.”

“I sit next to Daddy?” she asked, looking up at me hopefully. For some reason, no one wants to sit next to me at the table. Now, I’ve smelled myself. That is definitely not the problem. But the very prospect of it makes their faces drop.

I try not to take it personally. (That is a lie.)

I nodded. Her face lit up, and she continued, “Yay! I not sit next to Mummy again.”

I jokily replied, “Thanks dude, I love you too.”

Apparently, I stepped out of line at this point. But not to worry. She exacted her revenge almost immediately.

She grinned, and said (loudly), “Fanny!”

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Bear in mind, we were smack bang in the middle of a shop at this point. I guess experimenting with words is Little Girl’s new trick.

Fuck.

I’m going to finish up by throwing in a story about Big Girl. You know, for equality purposes and all.

When Little Girl was about 8 weeks old, I ventured out to the park with both of them. I was obviously feeling brave. Little Girl was tucked up in her wrap and snoozing away, and Big Girl had a ball climbing and sliding and swinging and shit. Until I said it was time to go.

Big Girl did not like that. So she protested in the most effective way she could think of.DSC_2045

By turning around and legging it straight out of the park. Which, incidentally, is right next to a road.

I followed her as fast as I could. Which was incredibly slowly. I was trying to balance up getting to her with not damaging the tiny baby tied to my chest. It was far from awesome.

I did reach her in the end, just as she reached the edge of the road. I grabbed her and pulled her to me.

Embarrassing enough already, right?

Ha! No. It got worse. I don’t know if it was the shock of running away or of being caught, but whatever it was, her body couldn’t hack it.

So she fainted.

So not cool. She was fine though. Apparently it’s not that uncommon a reaction to shock in children. Which is irrelevant, in my opinion. Because it still doesn’t look good.

I’m thankful that Squeak hasn’t quite reached the point of embarrassing me in public yet. Apart from the time she managed to crap through a nappy, vest, sleepsuit, cardigan and sling. In 0.2 seconds.

That sucked.