Bronwyn, my eldest daughter, recently wrote on Facebook: "
I really smiled at that! It brought back a memory of mine of when she was almost 3 and Lauren was beginning to crawl and move around, so she was maybe 8 months?
We were living in our first home, an old farmhouse with patterned tin walls. It had been very rundown, but with a bit of work, we had managed to make it bright and cheerful, and the nursery was very colourful with a vinyl floor for easy cleaning and hygiene.
On this particular day, both Bronwyn and Lauren were at their worst behaviour. Bron was being a bit demanding of my time, while Lauren just didn't care. I belonged to her alone, and that was all there was to it! I was trying desperately to please both of them, and keep harmony, but was reaching my limit of patience.
I was in the lounge room with Bron, playing a game with her wooden building blocks, when Lauren woke from her nap, and started fussing. "Bron", I quickly said, "Try to make Mummy a big mountain, and I will be right back with Laurie and we can watch her knock it down! Would you like that?" Bron smiled, and started work on her 'masterpiece' straightway.
I went into the nursery and picked Lauren up from her cot, and was in the process of getting ready to change her cloth nappy when I heard a crash from the kitchen. I quickly sat Lauren on the floor of the nursery, and ran down the hallway to the kitchen only to find Bron laying on the floor stunned, with a chair tipped over, and the broken cookie jar on the floor beside her. Apparently she had wanted a teddy bear biscuit and being so grown up decided to help herself, but over-balanced and tipped the chair over which she probably hadn't dragged close enough to the side kitchen bench, and fell in a splot on the floor. She sat up and looked at me to see what I would do, then decided to cry. I tried to comfort her, while scolding her at the same time, when I heard a crash and splash in the nursery. I asked Bron to follow me, and I found that Lauren had crawled over to the nappy bucket, where dirty cloth nappies were soaking in a cleaning solution, in preparation for the washing machine. In the midst of this mess, she layed there smiling and splashing in the large puddle of dirty nappies and water solution.
I stood in the doorway somewhat shocked, and said in a stern voice to Bronwyn:
"Bronwyn! Run outside quickly and play with your tree swing and your sandbox, and do not come back inside until Mummy says you can! Now go!" She started to cry, and I just yelled, "Go! Now!" I knew if I didn't get my frustration under control I would probably spank her over the broken cookie jar and now Lauren's mess! Probably just generally out of tired desperation!
I then grabbed Lauren and placed her in the empty bathtub in the lower bathroom, where I would deal with her in a second or so, and went up to the nursery to clean up the mess from the dirty nappy water, and the slosh on the floor. I refilled the nappy bucket with fresh cleaning solution, and put the soaked nappies back inside for a further soak. As I went back down to the bathroom to clean up Lauren, walking through the kitchen, I looked out the window to see Bron sitting in her sandbox and crying out "I want to come back inside! I don't want to be here!" I just closed my ears and tried to count to ten. I think I made it to three, and then just ignored the noise and crying, and started to grab Lauren out of the bathtub, minus her drenched clothes, cleaned her up, and carried her back to the nursery.
I had dressed her in a clean jumpsuit, and had started to take some of her favourite toys from her shelf, when I heard a loud scream from outside! I jumped, and left Lauren alone with her toys.
Bronwyn had fallen from her swing, which fortunately was very close to the ground, and had hurt her pride more than anything else. She was upset, and probably angry with me for making her 'Play outside!'
I went to the back door, and called her to come inside, and she just sniffled, then started to head up to the house. I knew the rest of the afternoon was going to be a struggle for me, but I tried to put on a brave face. Suddenly I heard a loud crash from the nursery, and then just quiet. I ran up the hallway, only to find that Lauren had decided to go 'swimming again' and had once again knocked over the nappy bucket. I just stood there in shock and disbelief looking at the mess on the floor once again, and than at the smiling wet kid laying in the midst of it, when Bron suddenly appeared by my side in the doorway.
"Lauren's a bit dirty isn't she?...My knee hurts."
I stood and looked at her, tried to give her a reassuring smile, which I'm sure was more of a grimace, then without a word just quietly walked into the nursery, picked up the nappy bucket, carried it to the bathtub, and started all over again.
Believe me, I really do sympathise with Mums when they say they had a bad day!!