Recently I have found myself channelling a new mum friend (let’s call her Judith – as I don’t think I know any actual Judiths), when reacting to unwanted behaviour in Rosemary. Judith always talks very calmly to her children and I have never heard her shout. Of course, for all I know, she screams and swears at them at home, but I don’t think so.
I have always aimed to be a mum who remains calm and talks in a happy voice, just adding a touch of firmness when something is very unwanted. And I think I go through phases of being successful and phases of failing dismally, where I end up shouting, screeching, stomping doors and, oh dear me, swearing. Fortunately, the latter are not too common, though there was a time during the terrible twos when it was probably approaching the norm, rather than the exception.
The thing is, though, at the moment I feel like I’m almost trying to sound exactly like Judith – not just to mimic her calmness and other methods, but to speak in her voice. Mimicry is something I’ve suffered from since I was child, actually. I have offended people on more than one occasion, because I’ve started speaking in their accent and they’ve assumed I’m taking the piss. I’m not. I just naturally take on the accent, register and tone of voice of the people I’m speaking to. It is weird, yes.
But, you know what? Weird though it is, I think it’s actually working. I think I’m (mostly) getting better responses from Rosemary when I’m being Judith, than when I’m being Tasha, because Tasha can get quite annoyed and snappy with her children, whereas Judith doesn’t. Judith gets down to ground level and explains why it’s not possible to scuba diving today; Tasha snaps, ‘Oh for goodness sake! For the billionth time, we canNOT go scuba diving today!’
So, I may just keep doing it. Though I’ll have to be careful that I don’t offend Judith by talking just like her in front of her!
Hmm, though probably Judith wouldn’t have written a blog post while her baby wriggles around the floor trying to reach various objects, in her increasing attempts to start crawling. She would have left that until after they’ve gone to bed.
Do you have any weird (or just normal, but successful) ways of keeping calm in the face of unwanted pre-school or toddler behaviour? Do you have friends who come across as perfect parents and make you wonder what you’re doing wrong? Do you have friends who you thought were perfect, but turned out to quite normal?