I have a confession. I am the mother of a tantrumer. My daughter (nearly three) tantrums alot. Alot alot. And by and large that’s OK, I know it is because she is a fierce independent woman and she will one day rule the world (I also know it is sometimes because she is tired, hungry, confused and frustrated). I appreciate I am not alone and that every battle-scared mother of a child over the age of three can recall the trauma brought on by tantrums.
However, I don’t have just one almost three year old – I have two.
Yet I was still caught off-guard the day it happened. We had just been swimming and were crossing the car park (why do these things always happen in car parks?) My mummy senses were tingling, a fractous feeling was in the air.
My daughter started to whine. Naturally I had parked miles away and had the huge bag of swim stuff dangling from my shoulder. By now we had reached the lying-on-the-floor point and as I bent down to pick my daughter up my son also threw himself on the ground wailing.
Tantrum times two!
I’m panicking but this is OK I can deal with this. After all am I not Twin Mummy, part of the super elite motherhood, a force to be reckoned with, a commando in the art of parenting?
I scooped up my daughter. My son was shrieking, also wanting to be carried. The other mums from our swimming class were passing us, offering me smiles of sympathy. I was cringing inside but trying to appear nonchalant, ha! I attempted to lift my son up but with the big bag full of towels this was no mean feat. I hobbled about six steps before both children started slipping down my hips. I hoisted them back up, gritted my teeth and waddled towards the car.
The twins were squirming, getting progressively further into the state of hysteria. The flaming car was still miles away. I struggled onwards feeling a vein bulging in my temple. I reached the car and put my howling son on the ground in a prostrate position while I fished around for the car keys (naturally in the deepest darkest corner of my huge bag) . I rammed the screaming pair in the car and sped off. They were both asleep within minutes. I needed a stiff drink. It was 10.30 am.
Throughout this whole escapade I was clinging on to control but I was outnumbered, out-manouerved and quite frankly blind-sided by this new turn in my twins development.
Meet Twin Escalation Syndrome – or as I know it, the Enemy. Essentially what this means is that one twin has hysterics and the other one looks over and thinks ‘Wow mummy is certainly paying attention I’ll try that too’. Or that fairly often twins are tired, hungry, frustrated and confused at the same time (ie. after swimming lessons).
So now I am on full alert, battle-ready should this situation arise again. I see TES everywhere. It can be lurking in the most mundane situations. It could happen while we are watching TV (but it probably never will as TES likes an audience). It could happen when delivering the kids to pre-school…please God let it never ever happen then!
I analyse every change in temperment. My bag is fulled with meltdown alleviating bribes (and I’m not just talking chocolate raisins here, I’m talking Big Guns (not literally Big Guns! – just some cheapo toys to distract)). I use minor hissy-fits to practise my calm yet stern voice. Listening to myself, sounding like a prim governess reprimanding a drunk.
I have turned down invites at the last minute (I hate doing that!) because dealing with two tantrums in the privacy of my own home is a million times easier than in public (CBeebies and a big cuddle seem to work eventually).
So although I see this TES demon stalking me in the shadows I still know that I am a green beret in the art of matriarchy. I will never be defeated and I will never surrender…
…so long as CBeebies is broadcasting and Pinot Grigio is available (at 10.30), I will soldier on.