Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Lesson 14: Your Child Will Behave Impeccably for Others

It’s one of life’s leading injustices.

Not that your child behaves nicely, because of course *forces smiles through gritted teeth* we welcome good behaviour. Rather the injustice lies in the fact that your child will appear to save all disruptive, angry and frankly INTOLERABLE behaviour just for you. Joyful.
I have to be honest here, at times I have concluded it MUST BE ME. As already outlined in Lesson 8 I am not a natural ‘Coper,’ in fact more often than not I think I am not coping at all. Perhaps my child knows this, and chooses to push my already weary buttons…

However, in the last month or two I have turned this conclusion on its head and I am now one hundred percent certain that parents simply get the worst of their bundles of joy.

We get the bundle, minus the joy.

Often a snotty, angry, clingy bundle who is seemingly on hunger strike and throws his cutlery across the table…maybe that’s just mine - he turns two this week, and quite frankly I am at my wits’ end with his general behaviour *reaches for wine.*
It doesn’t matter who else looks after him for the day (grandparents/child-minder/postman), he is invariably well behaved. Comments on collection/pick-up range from ‘he’s been good as gold’ to ‘isn’t he easy to look after?!’ The latter is nearly enough ammunition for me to claw both my eyes out in a frustrated rage. Said rage is also accompanied by marginal guilt that I am almost willing him to behave poorly for somebody else, so I can report back quite honestly ‘THIS IS MY WHOLE LIFE!’  

When I have him for a day on my own, I don’t successfully manage to do anything (he kicks off in every shop/at the doctors/in the library - purposefully collapsing face down on the floor is commonplace). When his grandparents take him shopping/to the library/out for lunch he is, by all accounts, helpful. Say what?

How my child behaves for others
His 'special' behaviour reserved for me

On Sunday, I had the luxury of a lie-in (sorry to mums who have not had one of these in a while, I won’t dwell on it). Anyhow, I surfaced at 10am and ventured downstairs with the promise of a nice family day stretching out before me. I had been downstairs for no longer than two minutes when Helpful Henry turned into Hurricane Henry, and yet another breakfast was eaten with him hanging off my leg and snivelling on my dressing gown.

Me: ‘What’s the matter?’
Henry: ‘I WANT BUZZ’
Me: ‘You want Buzz Lightyear?’ *fetches Buzz Lightyear*
Henry: ‘NO! Take it AWAY!!’
Me: ‘Okay, Buzz has gone away’
Henry: *screams* ‘BUZZ!!’
And so it begins.

Not an unusual turn of events, you might think, until my dear husband (obviously in my good books for facilitating my lie-in), stated:

'He was absolutely fine until you came down. Good as gold.’

I won’t repeat my reply.  

The Unmumsy Mum


  1. heehee - too bloody true! Everyone at nursery thinks my child is a beacon of light ?! It really confuses me... as does her actually eating her lunch with a fight for them... WTF. So annoying! lol xx

    1. Oh my god I KNOW! Clearly she is reserving her 'special' behaviour for you ;-) Thanks for reading x

  2. Hahah!! He was good as gold until you came back..my dad uses that one all the time! ..just stumbled and fell in love with your blog!! Hurrah for truth x

    1. Haha bet you love hearing it as much as I do ;-) thanks for reading!

  3. This is my daughter - everyone tells me how good she is and then the minute I get her home so starts the screaming and whining lol the I want this...I don't want that behaviour is enough to send me bonkers - just as well they are so dawn cute ;)

  4. i love this blog. i was one of those mums, at playgroup telling it how it is, until i learnt that you are not suppose to say how it is and you are suppose to talk about how amazing this all is. and sure, some of it is priceless. the kinda priceless ive never had before. and well the rest...it certianly should be something you can talk and laugh about! but again woman are in competition and everyone is making sure that their kids meals are so exciting (everyones mouths nearly dropped when i said my newly eating child ate oatmeal with fruit, with some toast nearly every day...). I honestly dont know where people find the time to feed their child gourmet meals...and its not like im a fulltime busy working mum.

    i love this entry because it is so us. unfort for our family, both my husband get this beautiful behaviour. but my husbands auntie, or the grandparents (my parents), or my husband grandparents get this amazing boy that makes us seem crazy. he has started daycare a couple of days per week and he is also an angel. whereby for us he screams at everything. sometimes all day. he doesnt even want to play with toys. everything is too hard to even try. queue throwing toys and screaming....

    we keep thinking "what are we doing wrong?" my husband has this even MORE than me. the kid really gets cracking for whenever daddy is home. all that 'nice' familytime that you kinda have kids for....its a bit of a have. and it is reserved for a very small handful of moments

    pass the panadol and the wine.

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  6. Haha, so true. My mum, bless her heart, always tells me that my two-year-old reserves this oh-so-delightful behaviour for me because he is the most secure with me, so he feels confident to test the boundaries and generally, occasionally, be a total little bugger because he knows I'll never stop loving him. Even when he whacks me in the head and throws the Sangenic around when he's meant to be in Time Out. So there you have it, apparently them being monstrous as soon as you venture into the room is a GOOD THING and a sign that we are all succeeding as parents. I think I'm going to cling onto this theory anyway, as in my experience my mum is usually right. Annoyingly so, actually.

  7. It means that your child feels safe enough to express their feelings/frustrations with you rather than with others that may care for them. You are their safe haven ! Just keep telling yourself this when its happening to you :) (it's based on Bowlby's attachment theory)! Great blog ! X