Oh. My. God.
There isn't really enough wine in the world to help me recover from the last hour.
You see it all started like this. Boy across the road had the friend from school to play but didn't invite my son. This was a problem. I knew it would be. But he wasn't invited and that was that. As we can see into their garden, staying at home this afternoon wasn't an option. We had to go out. First we had to live through the sheer heartbreak of a child who wanted to play with his friend on the last day of school, but couldn't. Compounded by the taunts of the friend going to play with the neighbour who at school had said: 'I'm going to play at Xs house and you aren't' as is the way of children. So that was nice.
I knew it would be like that so I went into supermummy mode. I had pre-planned and prepared. I had the car packed with bikes, scooters, football, board games, picnic blanket and bucketloads of crisps/sweets/cocktail sausages/miscellaneous picnic snacks. I donned my 'Yay, we're going to have the best afternoon ever' voice and tried to gee up the troups as we headed for a nature reserve well away from the friends.
It was hard, hard work. Eventually once we were safely consuming our 15th fizzy sherbert sweetie, the sobbing stopped and we all managed to have a genuinely fun afternoon exploring the woods, riding bikes, playing football, making dens etc. All was well. I even managed to convince them that what we were doing was infinitely more fun than playing on a boring old Wii (which is what had been advertised as the activity over the road).
I patted myself on the back for being a good mummy and salvaging a good afternoon from the jaws of nightmareville.
We came home. The friends across the road were still there. So my son stood at the fence yelling across the way asking if he could come and play. I kept saying that he couldn't as it was after 6pm, and besides, it smacked of desperation and norman no mates-ness and I didn't want the poor child to be begging for a play, particularly as he still hadn't really been invited.
So I ushered them indoor and served them dinner, which only moments before they'd been nagging for. My son took one look at it and tried to throw it onto the floor. I caught it. Asked him if he was sure he didn't want it. He had a name calling session and was adamant that he didn't want it (I am toning this all down a LOT). So I said I'd eat it if he didn't want it as there wasn't any left for me. He took off outside again in a strop, slamming doors en route.
I gave him five minutes then recalled him. He came in like a small thunder cloud, and as if the last five minutes had magically been erased from his mind, demanded his dinner in a tone that didn't exactly make me want to rush into the kitchen and rustle something up. So I said that I'd eaten it. Which I had. At which point he grabbed the bowl out of my hands, flung the remains on the floor, hit me, called me stupid and slammed the door.
Now I know he's had an emotionally wrought day. And I know he was probably tired. I know that the correct thing to do was to sit with him, be understanding about the fact that he wants to be outside and more importantly with his friends. I should have been calm and rational.
But this type of behaviour happens a lot and I'd had enough of it. I'd also used up every ounce of my energy in trying to get through the afternoon without more emotional meltdowns. So I instructed him that he had just lost out on bathing and bed time story priviledges, that he may wash his face, hands and clean teeth and could go to bed.
Let's just say that didn't go down well. At. All. The end of my tether was reached and surpassed by a good mile or so. I won't go into the details but it wasn't my finest moment of parenting. I had as much of a tantrum as he did. And he ended up going to bed (eventually) sobbing and asking for his father who certainly wouldn't have taken a more favourable view of his behaviour. I now have an almighty headache and feel utterly deflated.
All of my good mummy hard work of the afternoon was wiped out in an hour in the face of fairly vile behaviour from a child who was never going to be in a great frame of mind today. Now I feel guilty and rubbish.
It's the mummy rollercoaster.
If only I'd read the sign before boarding: Step right up. Tickets cost you most of your life savings. Brace yourself for a white knuckle ride with unexpected twists, turns, highs and lows. May cause whiplash. And nausea. May make you scream hysterically or laugh uncontrollably. Once you're on it, there's no getting off it. Good luck.