Sunday, 22 July 2007


Tiger has some self-esteem problems. This is the conclusion I come to when Tiger's gone bonkers and I've calmed down.

I say, 'Tiger, what would you like to drink?' Tiger answers, 'Huh! I can't have anything to drink! Shark says she can have the apple juice and then I can't have apple juice. I can't have apple juice because you think I'm rubbish. I'm rubbish at everything and Shark is not. You love Shark and you don't love me.'

This response might go on for 15 minutes, until I crack and send Tiger out of the kitchen, which in Tiger's world sort of proves her point, that no-one loves her, and in fact, no-one loves her so deeply they send her out the room while they pull out their own hair in clumps and kick the furniture. When all mummy Grit really wanted to know is whether Tiger wanted apple juice, or whether she'd prefer the pineapple and coconut.

Grit, being a good mummy who has finished smashing up the kitchen, then goes off and finds a website which might explain why children are revolting. And what can be done about it. And then I start to find out just what a miserable, bad, rubbish mummy I am. Because this is the advice:

1) 'Watch what you say.' Oh dear. I suppose saying 'I will sell you for medical experiments if you don't shut up moaning' was the wrong thing, then.

2) 'Be a positive role model.' The website says, 'If you are excessively harsh on yourself, pessimistic...' Bugger.

But then I start to get argumentative, because this website continues...

3) 'Identify and redirect your child's inaccurate beliefs.' Inaccurate beliefs? What does that mean? Redirect them? I am confused. If Tiger says no-one loves her because she is rubbish, I say, that is rubbish, we love you lots. So much in fact that we probably say it 5000 times a day.

4) 'Be spontaneous and affectionate with your child.' Well, it was two years before I could remove my lips which were suckered to their heads, so I'd say this affectionate malarky is going on all day here, except when Tiger is horrible, and slamming doors and stuff. I mean, I cannot start slobbering kisses on a Tiger who is smashing up the house just because a sister wanted apple juice, now can I?

And then it all starts making me cross again.

5) 'Give positive, accurate feedback.' Give me a break! I'm a home ed parent! Some complete and utter bit of scribble rubbish gets pushed into my hands. I should shout, 'What?! Some tree had to die for this crap?' But of course I do not. I say, serenely, 'I like this line here, it makes a lovely contrast to all the other lines on your page.'


6) 'Create a safe, nurturing home environment.' What? What do they think we do here? Put drawing pins in the bath? Anyway, when that happened, it was not me. It was Shark.


7) 'Make your home a safe haven for your family.' Well, since Tiger, Shark and Squirrel do not get routinely beaten up in the playground, pursued by happyslappers, tortured by Mrs Grimley head of Year 2, or shouted at by a PE teacher until they are in tears, I'm not sure this one applies.

So then the sarcasm.

8) 'Help your child become involved in constructive experiences.' Oh. So I suppose taking Tiger off to violin, tennis, drama, gym, trampoline, french and art lessons might show we are lacking in this department. As does being generally a home ed kid who rolls out of bed when she wants and does more or less what she fancies, from cooking to rock-climbing, and sometimes both, if she can fit them in on the same day.

Angry? Argumentative? Sarcastic? This cannot be anything to do with whose daughter she is. This must be environmental. And therefore, since Dig lives here, and is part of the environment, I conclude it's his fault. Either that, or that triplet thing.

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