Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tantrums in 6 year olds - how to play it?

As the children grow, I enjoy that they are more open to reason and the days of irrational strops are over. And then, one of them blindsides me with a nuclear tantrum and I am left questioning whether I do, in fact, meet the essential criteria for being a parent.

Yesterday, Hugh and I had a fight over 'the wrong apricot'. It became a nerve-jangling battle of wills. I stuck to the received mantra of,  don't back down, you can never back down, you will look weak, they will win and behave abominably, whenever they feel like it.

We were locked down in a stalemate of misery, much like most of world politics. He wailed and screamed and sobbed because I stopped him grabbing a 'different' dried apricot from the tub, while shoving back one he had already pawed (with playground hands). He had several on his plate, plus other after-school snacks.

I tried to stick to plan A and put the apricot tub in a high cupboard. Did I have any idea this would lead to an hour of white rage? 'Course not. But half an hour in, I couldn't lose ground, could I?! Super Nanny and orthodox wisdom were yelling, 'hold firm, woman!'

Yet he was distraught - refusing to eat anything, sobbing on the floor. Crying. Kicking. In and out of The Naughty Porch.  I offered stop-gap compromises (cashews or pistachios?). So West End. But he was locked in to his position, almost helpless, exhausted after school. My own nerves were jangled and I was desperate to help him, without 'giving in' to 'bad' behavior.

So, next time - for there will be one - I wondered about unilateral disarmament. Saying, okay, I know you are doing an expert Horrid Henry impersonation, but I'll give you one chance. IF I let you swap apricots, then you must start to behave. Because behave-and-*then*-we-will-consider- apricot-swapping was failing spectacularly.
It reminded me of the years when I shared a room with my sister. I was always the one who got out of bed to turn out 'the big light' after reading. One night I refused, and asked her to do it. She's not a Taurean for nothing. An hour later, I stumbled over to the light switch, defeated, crying. We laugh at it now.

A battle-of -wills eats up time. Maybe I'll try allowing the 'right' apricots and then set up some other part 2 sanction. If you don't behave post-apricot swap, I swear I will..., have to think of something. Dear readers, I will let you know.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

A Love Letter to Your Local Library via The Scottish Book Trust

Dear Hillhead Library,

The Scottish Book Trust may have prompted my letter of appreciation to you, and they are right to do so - like a good parent reminding a child to say please and thank you.

I do thank you, Hillhead Library for all that you give. You are the big, rectangular heart of Byres Road. I feel an instant physical relief when I  sweep through your automatic doors into the vault of books and quiet people and 70’s geometric carpet. Ah, the warm community air, the space to think and explore. An egalitarian place, free of commercial exploitation. What a rare and precious thing.

Books are free to read for those who can’t afford them. They can be requested, ordered, or just browsed. What a liberating and reassuring feeling this is. Indeed, what a relief.

And your staff are friendly and helpful. The ‘man with the curly hair’ is a true librarian. Nothing is too much trouble and he has time for the children and is patient when books are renewed until we find them again at the bottom of a toy box.

When I attended the excellent, ‘Bounce and Rhyme’ with my baby son, it became the social highlight of the week, (new mum-pals all going for coffee and chat afterwards). As we sat in the library singing, ‘If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands’, I clapped my son's chubby hands together and, yes, I was happy to the point of tears.

Hillhead Library, let us cherish you, celebrate you and, -most of all - never forget your true value to society.

Yours Sincerely,  

Ciara MacLaverty.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The unimaginable suffering of Ebola

I usually try to keep this blog 'light', but I have to write at my slow horror at the Ebola tragedy unfolding in the news. It is more uniquely awful than  anything I have seen. I almost feel there should be no other news until we get serious, world-wide help for this. I don't know what else to say or do, but I will donate some money here. I am in awe of the people who risk their lives by volunteering to help.