I am pleased to finally have a moment to blog the creative works of February, ok so we’re well into March and there are only two of them, but I have been exceptionally busy looking at buying houses and/or cars. After great effort and exhaustion we have decided to do neither; until our house in the UK sells, so we will be in our lovely South Australian beachside rental for another year. It could be worse, we have looked at a lot of grotty houses and I don’t want to live there.
Creative work number one
I used my neutral kit from February CFK to tell the Toddler Taming story I apologise for the dreadful phone photos again due to time constraints. What I enjoyed most was changing the plain see through naff plastic letters by mounting them over the tiny squares on the animal paper to give them a cool look. i cut up the giraffe paper to make the title background. see close up shot. I had a lot of journalling so printed it onto vellum and filled up the back ground card stock. I cut various "monster" animals out UTEED them mounted them on cardstock to make embellishments that are cuter than my child was ;)
The Journalling reads
During the period from when A turned two to three and a half he was a “challenging” child and so difficult to deal with. He would hit, push, and kick other children at the Toddler Group we went to. It was so hard being responsible for and not being in control of his actions. I tried everything:-
· Explaining it was not nice
· Shouting at him,
· Smacking him and,
· Taking him home so he missed all the fun wherever we were, whatever we were doing, even if I would be missing the fun too.
But still, he continued, until it was so bad I just couldn’t cope with the trauma of being out with him in public. I was at my wits end. I spoke to my mum and she recalled the same thing happening with her and my brother, her returning from Toddler Group crying, thinking “I have created a monster,” she knew what I was talking about! I was wondering the same.
It got worse, at the supermarket he stretched full stretch to reach the old lady in front of us and kick her, and at a church BBQ he gave a child the push that broke the camels back. I Lost My Temper. I started smacking him and I smacked him 8 times through The Red Mist. Without a word to our hosts I stormed out, him under my arm and drove home in a rage. I shouted a lot and loudly in the car, afterwards everyone was silent… all the way home, even Russ was too scared to talk. When we got home he whispered “Are you cross with me too? Your scary rays are on full blast and I can feel them too.”
I sought help from the health visitor she explained; “Children start learning how to manipulate you the day they are born, by the time they get to two they have about got it cracked, your son has realised that if he wants to get your attention he just has to push your button. All he has to do is hit someone and you’re there and he gets full on attention.” She recommended the book “Toddler Taming” and suggested I do nothing at the next violent episode, nothing at all to A but fuss over the injured child. Having read the book I saw the 10 out of 10 times ignoring approach was what we had to do. That made me even more unpopular, it’s very difficult in a social situation to watch your child hit or push another to the ground and overtly ignore him. It was awful. I was reduced to private tears at the hospital after he charged over and pushed over a pretty 18m old angelic girl while we were waiting for him to be vaccinated. I ignored him, picked her up and fussed over her as I had been told. He actually was so perturbed by me ignoring him he came to me to tell me what he had done, I turned away not wanting to give him any attention and ignored him, so he went right back and did it again. The second time was understandably too much for the little girl’s mother to bare, “If you’re not gonna smack ‘im , then I will” She bellowed at me, fortunately just as his name was called for his vaccination. We made our get away just in time. We were instructed to wait for 30mins after the vaccination in case of a reaction. I knew I wasn’t going to wait in that waiting room or they’d be a terrible reaction and probably an adult level not just toddler punch up, so we found another waiting room at the other end of the children’s unit. Within moments he’d done it again this time to a little boy, his mother was straight onto me shouting “parenting advice” of the smacking type. I felt the tears coming and stood with “monster child” in a corridor away form anyone else while the next 27 minutes ticked slowly by. All this time I was carrying another unborn child. When I went for the 20 week scan the radiologist asked us did we want to know the sex and I said “No.” I thought if it’s another boy then I just don’t know how I will cope.
By and by the ignoring method started to work and as he reached age three things were much better finally he was staring to behave. Shortly after there were two major life changing events (the arrival of his new baby sister and the starting of nursery school) so 5 months later things had moved in a slightly different direction. Every day as I collected him from Mrs Atkinson at nursery school he would rush out and head butt me. I can tell you when the front of a three year olds skull collides with your hipbone it comes very keen and when the collision is on top of a bruise or bruises from the previous day or days it really, really hurts. I asked his teacher for advice, she told me he was behaving perfectly whilst in her care and again she mentioned the “attention” word. She advised me to pick him up 5 mins after everyone else had gone so there was no audience and to just IGNORE it. So I did. By Friday five days later he realised he wasn’t getting the attention he desired and so he didn’t head butt me. Instead as he rushed out the classroom he punched his teacher in the stomach. My heart sank. Would my child be the first three year old child to be expelled for assaulting a teacher? Mrs Atkinson had had a lot more experience with children than I had. She remarked to me “That’s interesting; that’s transference,” said to A“Have a wonderful weekend” and saw us out, and there it was finished; the terrible toddler thing was over. Never again did A raises his hand to me or another adult and never ever to another child A grew up to be a big strong boy and then a polite young man at age 12 he behaves impeccably. Fortunately I am now comfortable to take him to any social event and he even works for me as an assistant on my photography shoots where he elicits natural smiles and giggles from my clients using slapstick comedy. I could not ask for a better, more helpful and trustworthy son. He is good company and I am pleased to say he has outgrown his monster period and so we all lived Happily Ever After.
(Errr well ok, so there were a few scuffles at Primary school and just two pencil stabbing incidents so far at Senior school but I think that’s fodder for another story.)
February Creative Work number 2
I made the following simple but effective invitations for a friends who’s Birthday party I am hosting next week. She was thrilled and so I was pleased J