Master L definitely woke with the devil in him today. After taking his older brother to his swimming lesson, my friend and I decided to take our brood to a soft play centre for the afternoon and get some lunch there. I was quite looking forward to going as it was a new centre just opened and local to us, so trying it out was a must.
I should have known it was a bad idea when my friend told me "he's not listened to a word I've said when you were out there getting the older two" (referring to Master L). I should have taken the hint and turned that car right around and gone back home. But no, I clearly like to punish myself, or similar.
We all know the child I'm talking about, the one who's mum is forever on edge, looking to see where her child is, to make sure he is behaving and playing nicely. The one who shouts "NO" when his mum is crouched down trying to drum into him that we "be gentle" and "play nicely with others", and the one who likes to have his turn with a toy before its time for his turn. The child who likes to grab before asking and, shock horror, the one who hits!
Well, it was Master L's turn to be "that" child today. He quickly found a softer hearted, more mellow child and decided it was his afternoon's goal to annoy him (and his mother). He took it upon himself to follow this boy, snatch from him, tell him not to do something "naughty" but then continue doing it himself. He was causing mayhem. My apologies and explanation's of "sorry, he has mischief in him today" were falling on deaf ears and I could feel those disapproving looks from the boys mother, burning holes into the back of my head whilst I made Master L apologise to the boy and move him away to play with something else. The type of looks that scream at you "your parenting all wrong! Your child is the DEVIL!"
Master L isn't a "naughty" child. He is what you call 'strong willed'. He's very independent, he argues back and thinks he has the right to get his own way, all of the time. He's a mini tornado (think the Tasmanian devil), very full on all of the time, and he terrorises the hell out of his big brother. But he is also the most loving and caring 2 and a half year old too. He'd give you his last smartie if you ask nice enough, and completely drown you with kisses (and licks too - gross!) He gives the best hugs and always makes sure you're OK if he sees you hurt or upset.
What people forget in the heat of the moment - and I have been guilty of it too - is these little people are still only 2 and 3 years old. They're still learning about the world and their place in it. No matter how old we get, we all have bad days, and behind the child having a bad day is a mother (or father) having an equally bad time, thinking they are doing everything wrong and feeling pretty confident in the fact that they aren't good enough as a parent.