Yesterday, Phoebe and I headed off for a late Sunday afternoon stroll. The sun was shining, the air was cold and crisp, the sky was blue and the mood was good! We packed the wellies, the woolies and the scooter, then we headed off to Peatlands Park.
The park was busier than I’d expected, but nonetheless, off we strolled together, a hand on each handle of the scooter. (Phoebe still hasn’t quite mastered the “scooting” technique yet!) We mostly just walk alongside it! Hanging from one handle of the scooter was a bag of bread for the ducks - poor dears - most of the lake was frozen solid! We did manage to find a little bit of water and threw some bread in. Phoebe mustn’t have had enough lunch, as most of the bread ended up in her own stomach!
Once the bread was devoured (by Phoebe) she noticed the little play area behind where we had been feeding the ducks. Well - as parents of three year olds can understand - nothing would do, only to go straight in and play pretend trains for the foreseeable future. It was baltic, and I counted down the minutes until Phoebe could be tempted onto the next “exciting thing.” A walk just wasn’t going to do the trick so I “now regrettably” used the word “playground” to describe our next destination.
Well, I can take full responsibility for what happened next, as, understandably, a coloured hop-skotch on the ground just doesn’t cut it as a “playground” to a 3 year old!
The face on her!
I tried, I really did, to encourage her to give it a go. You know, just while my fingers were freezing off! But, no. Absolutely not. Phoebe was having none of it. She wouldn’t put a single foot near it. She was totally disgusted.
I could see that some people were headed our direction, so I attempted to find another solution. I offered up some other suggestions but I knew that she was “having a moment!” I began to make my way toward her - wrong move. She screamed, then started running in the opposite direction. I was acutely aware of the oncoming traffic: a poor, unsuspecting family and their dog! I couldn’t let Phoebe run too far off, especially with so many dogs around, so I bolted after her, scooter in tow! I grabbed her and hunkered down beside her. She was hollering “no, stop Mummy!!!” at the top of her voice like I was inflicting some sort of torture on her!
In those moments, when you are so conscious of onlookers and critical stares, you make split second choices - mine tend to be on the dramatic side - no wonder a certain someone can be a bit of a drama queen! She didn’t want any of my suggestions and continued to shout her head off. I warned her that we would go straight back to the car if she didn’t stop being silly - so inevitably ... off we went ... back to the car. Needless to say, this didn’t go down well! There I was, trailing both a scooter and a screaming 3 year old over the grass, towards the car. I’m sure the whole of Peatlands could hear “NOOOO Mummy!” and her big, wet sobs. A couple of times I tried to carry her but she was too slippery against my coat and too heavy to carry one handed, remember ... I had the scooter trailing along from the other hand!
The shouting persisted the whole way across the car park and into the car. I could see she was completely exhausted though. By late afternoon these days, it’s not really worth fighting with Phoebe for she’s just too tired. Now that we’re back in routine of school, there’s no napping during the day so we can get an early bedtime! And, when Phoebe’s getting tired, you daren’t look at her the wrong way!
Once strapped in, I gave her her bunny and teddy and just to add insult to injury, I demanded an apology before she got her dummy. Now, even still, Phoebe’s all time favourite comforts are these 3 things: bunny, teddy and dummy. These 3 items are inseparable and rarely come without the other. With no “sorry” offered and in my own stubbornness, I set the dummy in the passenger seat and we began the 20 minute drive home. I suspected a roaring match the whole way, but she sat, without a peep, for the entire journey - mulling it all over and sussing me out, no doubt! I swear, she was giving me the evil eye in the mirror for most of the drive!
On arrival home, I was even more determined to get my apology, and so the saga continued. Matt thought the whole thing was hilarious, but did try to explain to Phoebe the importance of saying “sorry” and “being nice to Mummy” and “not shouting.” Well, Phoebe is most certainly my daughter ... stubborn as a mule! She was adamant that “sorry” was not crossing her lips. Instead, she would try and sneak the dummy from my pocket!
Eventually ... Matt somehow persuaded Phoebe to say sorry. Probably after around 15 minutes of an awful lot of huffing and puffing - from both Phoebe and I! But you know what, the moment she said sorry and wrapped those wee arms round my neck, I could have bawled my eyes out. I just hate it when we aren’t right with each other. It happens so rarely these days. So when we aren’t good ... I don’t like it. Not one bit.
As Matt often says ... “she’s only 3!” And, now that I’m not teaching in a classroom, I need to try and remember to step back from that role a little. Yes, I’m teaching Phoebe, but not in the same way. My role to her is different. It’s as Mother. It’s a nurturing role. More often than not, I’m stopping and reflecting on all that it means to be a Mother. The mighty weight of responsibility that comes rushing on you, the moment you hear the first little cry. But also the mighty honour and privilege it is to tend to and care for a little life. To watch it begin to grow and flourish! In 2018 my prayer is that in my role as Mother - especially in this new season of career-change - I gain deeper roots and firmer foundations in and through Christ. There is no stronger love. No better example. No greater sacrifice. May God grant me the patience and wisdom needed in these days and continue to mould and shape me into the kind of Mother Phoebe needs me to be.
Blessings for a wonderful week my lovelies,