I had a bad Mummy moment today. It was a long moment. I’d just brought Jake home from nursery followed by playground followed by a long “walk” towards the marshes and back. He was very tired but hadn't fallen asleep in his pushchair like I'd hoped. I picked him up and he screamed to be put down. He ran off, tripped, fell and cried that unmistakeable I’ve-really-hurt-myself-cry. I found him on the floor of the kitchen, blood pouring from his mouth. He’d cut his lip and his gum. He screamed when I tried to dab it with a cool wet flannel. He screamed when I tried to cuddle him. He screamed when I stepped away. I lost it and screamed back. Then I remembered that I do this too often. Shout at him when he’s tired or upset. Usually because I’m tired and upset, but what kind of excuse is that? He’s not yet 2 and I’m 39. I’m the one who should know better.
I asked him to come with me to the bathroom so I could wash his face. He refused. I asked him to at least wash his hands. He usually loves washing his hands. He said NO! I looked at him and said “NO??” He looked back and stuck his hands in the bin. He knows he’s not supposed to do it. So I grabbed the rubbish out of his hands and put the bin out of his reach, prompting more screaming. I walked away. I didn’t want to shout at him anymore. He came after me wailing, clutching the flannel he’d grabbed from me earlier, dabbing his face and nose with it. I decided to do nothing for a while. I sat on the floor and waited for him to come to me. I was afraid of doing the wrong thing. When he calmed down, I looked him the eye and told him I was sorry. Then I held out my arms and he came and let me hold him. His lip is still swollen, but I think he’s forgiven me.