One Saturday night during the last school holidays, my daughter absolutely brought the house down.
I was mesmerised by her strength of character, her utter conviction in her beliefs and her ability to convey her feelings in a direct and passionate manner.
Her pitch was strong and controlled.
Her voice carried clearly and deeply.
I was left staring at her in utter disbelief, not truly believing what I was seeing and hearing.
This was a tantrum like no other I have seen before. Not even remotely close. This was so far beyond the ‘Playgroup Incident’.
My husband and I could only watch on in horror as she screamed at our touch and our attempts to soothe her rage. Fairly quickly, we began the passionate pleas to bribe her with ANYTHING if she would only stop.
Those of you that know her, are pretty clear on the fact that she is a strong willed little Miss. My soon to be 4 year old knows what she wants (& what she doesn’t want) and is quick to point out if she feels she has been dealt with unfairly. What I wouldn’t give for her self belief and confidence! How I hope she can develop this powerful skill of being able to confidently defend herself and the rights of others who may need help.
It’s just that….
Let me set the scene for you.
We had been invited to stay with a group of families in a beautiful big house in the Hunter Valley. It was a ‘new’ thing. New school families, new friends; all still getting to know each other. It was incredibly fabulous. Loads of kids, wild outdoor play, joyful squealing, dirty faces and happy hearts. The kids ate sausages off the bbq, they licked sauce from their grubby fingers, they rode bikes and played spy games and Hulk wrestling. As for the grown ups, we felt the need to sample the wines from the district, devour way too much cheese, and sort out the problems of the world as we watched the sun go down from the front deck. We felt a million miles away from the city and smiled wildly at the thought that we had connected with such fantastic friends. The men huddled around the spit, trimming tastes and basting the meat (which apparently also requires beers and all the men folk to keep an eye on the coals). This was apparently exhausting work and the boys were really there to encourage and support the chief meat cook in any way that was required. Mind you, we all pitched in. The guys were also entertaining the kids, making salads and refilling our wine glasses.
It felt great.
Night time was met with karaoke, dancing performances and the serious business of unrolling sleeping bags and protests about brushing teeth.
The kids were excited to sleep with their friends and incredibly, I will admit to a moment of smugness when my two kids went straight to sleep like absolute angels on both nights. Finally, the kids were growing up and we were reclaiming a little more freedom and adult fun.
And then it happened.
About 10.30pm on the second night, my little girl woke in a strange room and began to cry. Luckily my husband was making moves towards bed (we had an early start the next day) and picked her up to carry back down to our room where we were sleeping. She was crying, distressed and I felt I had better go along, too, and help resettle her.
But it escalated.
Raging red bull. Hysterical.
She was most incensed that we had removed her from the room with her friends. Mind you this was always the plan and as she is still sometimes waking in the night, it would never have been fair to leave her in the room with another family. But she was not to be consoled. She frothed, she began to pound on the door, she screamed when we tried to hold her, calming words would not be heard by her angry heart. We were monsters to remove her from ‘her girls’ and her screaming was absolutely ear-splitting.
My husband and I had no idea how to quieten her down.
The bloody embarrassment that the other couples could hear it all and every other child in the house was asleep. We were terrified she would wake the others and I still have NO idea how anyone slept through it. I produced the emergency handbag lollypop and even that was hurled back.
I truly have no idea how long it continued, but eventually Sofia the First on my phone delivered the goods. Slowly she hiccupped her way down to a state of exhausted stillness. I stroked her hair, pulled up her blanket and carefully slipped out of the room. Now more than ever, I needed to throw a tall glass of wine (or 3) back with haste, but the party was over. Had my daughter single handedly shut down the show? I can only hope that she was not the fun police, her screams possibly reminding the others that we would all be back on kid wrangling duty at first light.
We were up and out by 7am the next morning and I admit I was pleased to make a hasty exit.
Whilst I know for absolute certainty every other parent there understood and had possibly been in our position (silently thanking the Gods that it wasn’t their child), this night it was our daughter. Frankly, it was mortifying.
But onwards and upwards.
Apart from, what shall now be known only as, The Hunter Incident, it was a terrific weekend.
And wouldn’t you know it, whilst this night will be permanently imprinted with a shudder in my memory for years to come, the diva does not remember a thing about it.