I used to walk the Beast to school.Because I am a healthy, fitness-loving, outdoorsy kinda mum. (bleugh)
The Beast is going to preschool three days a week. (Everybody cheer with me – Yaaaaaaaay!) She loves it. The sandpit, the water play, the painting, the bird called Bella, the boys that she bosses around, the dancing and the kickball. But. Most mornings she has conveniently forgotten that she had a blast the day before and so she refuses to go to preschool. She would rather sit and watch 24 hrs of Dora on cable tv. And so as we would take the 5 minute stroll to her school, she would start up. Crying. Whimpering. Screaming. Sitting down on the pavement and refusing to budge. Appealing to complete strangers for assistance. It went a little something like this –
“Somebody help me!! I dont wanna go! Help! Help!”
The Beast is a Drama Queen of epic proportions. Who we have all over-adored and over-worshipped. (The only thing i can say in my lame defence as a mother who has over indulged her child – is that the Beast is my very last baby. And so mothering her thus far has been heavily influenced by bereft feelings of loss and nostalgia, sniff sniff, no more babies for me…) So when I would tug on her hand and smile and speak in soothing, appeasing tones, she responded by upping the volume. And putting on an Academy Award performance.
“I dont want to go. You’re hurting meeee! I dont like you! Somebody help me! I want my Dada! I dont like you! I want Vale! Im afraid…Im afraid!” ( Vale being the name of the super sweet babysitter back in Samoa who would indulge her every whim and fancy.)
And as I alternately threatened, cajoled and pulled her along the street I was cringing internally with fear. Because NZ has laws about not smacking children. And theres so many cases of horific child abuse in the news every week, so I was sure that everybody and their dog who lives on this street – were all secretly looking out their window as we went by. And they were speed dialling the Child Protection Agency. To report a ‘typical BROWN polynesian mother who is obviously mistreating her child right there in front of my house, come quick!’
And I wanted to carry a big placard that screamed : “This is my daughter. She is not abused or mistreated in any way. She is just totally spoilt rotten and we are now rueing the consequences of aforementioned spoiling.” The other side of the card would read – “Somebody help Meeeeee! I’m this beastly child’s mother and I’m afraid! I’m afraid!”
And so now? I drive the Beast to school. So nobody can hear her screaming. And nobody can see me being a bad mother and totally ignoring her.