Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Meanest Mummy in the World

OB has recently developed a new and decidedly unwelcome unpleasant-things-avoidance strategy. It goes a bit like this:

Me: Please tidy your toys away.
OB (sobbing loudly and draping himself over me like a wet blanket): Cuddle Mummy! I need a cuddle!


Or this:

Me: Could you please eat your peas instead of flicking them at the baby?
OB (flinging himself face-first into my lap): I'm sooooo tired Mummy! I neeeeed a cuddle!


It's very annoying. I love a cuddle as much as the next person, but I don't really like the sort of weepy, droopy, dishrag drapery that passes for a 'cuddle' under these circumstances, especially when it's accompanied by siren wails and a fair quantity of snot.

And that's another unfortunate aspect. While the thing I said that prompted this display might have been said in a normal tone of voice, the response is anything but! No, enhanced volume is definitely key to OB's tactic here.

This has resulted in several, very public, performances where any bystander, having not heard my reasonably-worded request to tidy up, use cutlery, stop smashing other toddler over head with toy, etc. will only witness a Very Mean Mummy refusing to cuddle her crying and obviously very distressed child!

Yes, I am that woman holding a crying child at arm's length with an irritated look on her face and I have heard your tut and registered the stratospheric height of your eyebrows. Please move along now.


Of course, I have tried giving the cuddle on request. I thought, you know, maybe he just needs reassurance that I'm not cross with him, or maybe he's nervous about what I'm asking him to do.

It doesn't work. All that happens is that we get locked in a seemingly unending embrace (with lots of wriggling, climbing, snivelling and wailing) and when I finally untangle him, hoping to get back to my initial request, OB sets off for round two. You see, he doesn't want a cuddle. He just wants to distract me from whatever I've said to him.

So I'm holding out. No cuddle until the job is done. Amazingly, once the job finally gets done (and believe me, this can take a very, very long time to achieve), it turns out he doesn't really need a cuddle any more.

Shocking, that.



12 comments:

  1. Ah yes, we get this a lot with Missy. When I go for the cuddle, she just stands there, doesn't actually cuddle me back. Yesterday when she was wailing, I ignored her. I felt bad but I felt it had to be done.

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    1. It does feel awful and probably looks awful but sometimes it's the only thing to do!

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  2. Oh yes, I'm that mummy too. I've had him moaning in town he wants to be carried, when I'm piled down with shopping bags, hot and bothered, plus he's too heavy...so he lies on the shopping centre floor (at least there's no screaming). I say come on, he won't move so I walk off - to have people telling me 'is he yours?' 'you've forgotten something'. Hmm

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    1. People are so helpful aren't they with their comments!

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  3. I think you're doing the best thing for him - his reward (a lovely mummy cuddle) comes after he has done the thing you asked him to do, not because he is crying and refusing to obey the request! Go mummy!

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    1. Thank you! At first it was hard to resist, but as time goes on and the routine gets older it gets surprisingly easy!

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  4. Oh, they are such manipulators! My youngest isn't even two yet and I can already see when he's playing us, and his 12 year old brother is still at it! I think your approach sounds the best way forward, although it's amazing the amount of strangers who suddenly want to get involved with your parenting in situations like that...!

    #pocolo

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    1. Ah yes, those 'helpful' comments from passers-by! They certainly learn young how to play their parents don't they?!

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  5. My problem exactly at the moment. I dont know how to make my son follow my orders. He would do this to me as well, my son uses kisses instead of cuddles but same reason> to get away with chores. I am also now is doing the mean mum thing and wont have kisses unless the job is done #PoCoLo

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    1. I guess it boils down to consistency, but it's so hard to achieve when the day has been long and we're tired.

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  6. Sounds like a day in my house, tell off the 4 year old, the waterworks start.
    Mention tidying up, temporary deafness, far too tired. aaarrrgggghhh! #pocolo

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    1. It's reassuring that it's not only at my house :-)

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