We want our children to grow up as sane, courteous members of polite society that can do their own laundry and eat their peas. That do not to bite their friends and to go to bed when we tell them.
Motherhood is a constant state of trial and error!
It’s like a science experiment without the protective goggles. We do our best.
Anyone else with a five year old son may also get slightly anxious when taking their child out for food. It is not a common occurrence in our house, it just happens when I cannot face the oven or the washing up.
From the time he could speak I HAVE TRIED to instil manners into my little terror. To say ‘TA’, to not lick his knife. Also I am CONSTANTLY pulling his finger out of his nose and instructing that it is not acceptable etiquette as we have food in the fridge (anyone else got a pathological nose picker?) I feel good manners are a good habit to have.
That said, there are only so many social graces a small child has…with all the disgusting things little boys do I try not to make a big deal of them. Just quietly offer an alternative, like, ‘darling do you need a tissue?’ And ‘what do you say when we want something?’ Basic ABC parenting.
Positive behaviour is then followed up by lots of praise. I wish I got ice cream for using my cutlery appropriately.
Last Wednesday my other half and I were anxiously looking at the little one who was overexcitedly driving his hot wheels round the table. We knew it was a risky move, he was hyped up from afterschool club and teetering on overtired hysteria.
It is like waiting for a sea mine to go off.
We ordered drinks. Leo demanded fizzy…we asked for juice…and waited for our food, anxiously glancing at the clock. Remember those relaxed candlelit dinners you have pre child? Now its playing I spy repeatedly and praying the chefs are swift for the sake of the other diners sanity. I read the menu twice, he played a game of angry birds, and thankfully our food arrived before any screaming.
Little man dived into his sweet potato fries and I cut up his steak. We made a deal that he would eat some cucumber and salad. Bargaining is one of my key parenting tools. He could reach his drink. He didn’t need the toilet….all bases were covered.
I ordered a starter so I could eat fast. Prepared for potential tantrums. You would think I would have lot some weight becoming a mother. Nope. Besides from one rather gross instance of spitting a lump of steak onto the table dinner got eaten successfully, and pudding started.
I saw the finish line in sight, we were, dare I say, enjoying ourselves.
Midway through his ice cream little man started giggling and swiftly climbed down from the chair. We asked him where he was going and if he needed the toilet? Was he finished and could he please wait to be excused? The usual parental barrage of questions. He took two steps back so he was outside of the booth…but still very much in the centre of the dining room.
Mummy realised too late what he was going to do and reached for him…
On a couple of occasions he had broken wind at the table at home. I told him that was not nice to do around food so he should politely leave the table.
At home he goes into the hall, here there was NO hall.
So of course he farted, loudly, with a really innocent look on his face.
The tapping of forks and plates and idle chatter stopped. Everyone stared.
I could not decide whether to cry with laughter or be aghast. Instead I whispered in a terribly well to do voice… ‘What do you say?’
He did a curtsey and said, ‘excuse me everybody.’ I couldn’t really tell him off for the manners I taught him.
Must try harder. You try and be a good parent and it backfires, literally.
It put me off my ice cream. Might lose some weight after all.