I wish you would die! Parenting Moments to Remember

by | Feb 8, 2014 | Little Parenting, Little School Kid | 9 comments

Luca TLM 214

“I hate you, Dad! I wish you would DIE.”

The words were ragged with rage as though they might have torn at his lungs on the way out. And though they were terrible words, serious words that would normally have provoked reprimand, Bren and I could only look at one another in shock.

Our boy, just 6 and a half years old, was beside himself, spitting out words specifically designed to wound us. It was wrenching to hear them, and wrenching to watch him so out of character and so out of control.

And all because of scones. I know so many parents enjoy being in the kitchen with their children. In this house, it almost always descends into horror and despair for everyone.

Today took the horror and despair cake. Or scone.

In the madness of after school and before dinner, that crazy witching hour when everyone is tired and there are a million things to be done, it is not uncommon for me to scream for a moment’s peace while I cook/tidy/drink wine. I do not respond to interruption calmly or rationally. I do not consider that the children may be tired. I am disinclined to fairly arbitrate sibling disputes.

The witching hour is certainly not my finest parenting hour.

Why I decided to cook scones with the kids during this time is quite the mystery but the fallout was predictable. The boys argued over who did what with which round dough cutter and it really snowballed from there. The squabbling was normal, Luca being sent to time out was not necessarily an anomaly but I admit I did not see the dad hate coming.

Being in his seventh year, epic meltdowns are unusual for Luca. In fact, he probably hasn't had one since he began school last year. When they do happen, the extent of his rage immediately dissolves any of my own anger. All I want to do is wrap him up and quiet the storm inside him.

He struggled from my arms, his eyes red-rimmed, his chest heaving with the exertion of his fury. His was rigid with it, as though the slightest touch might cause him to shatter like glass. My heart ached for him as he pushed against me.

But storms always pass and this one was no different. Eventually we were eating scones with jam and cream and it was fine. Almost…pleasant. But the outburst reminded me that there is always a reason for a child’s behaviour. In this case, Luca is exhausted as he settles back into the routine of school and life as a kid in Grade 1. In the fast-forward motion of our lives, it is easy to forget that our kids are complex little human beings whose behaviour varies depending on external factors. We are their compass for how best to respond to the emotions that exist inside them.  

My reaction to challenging behaviour can be dramatic, irrational and largely free of anything resembling patience. Sometimes I am measured and calm but just as often I am irritated and wanting the problem to just GO AWAY. By which I mean, the kids.

So if I want to teach my kids respect, I am setting an extraordinarily shitty example. Imploring them to simply "be good" denies the many factors in their daily lives that make that almost impossible.  It’s so odd how far off course we can allow life to steer us before we reach for the wheel again.

I’m reaching for the wheel.

That night, I sat with the boys for a little while as they lay restless in their beds, unwilling or unable to give over to sleep. We have been trying to break this habit lately because they are getting older now and really are capable of going off to sleep without us. But tonight I relented just long enough to quiet the racing of their minds and the energy in their skinny little bodies. They needed my presence to settle and I gave them that. Because what else do I have to give if not myself? That is all they really want.

I am reaching for the wheel.       



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I’m Angie!  I mum. I write. I wife. My husband would say this is the correct order.  He’s so neeeedy. I live with my family in Melbourne, Australia, where I complain about the weather for 90% of the year – but I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Except maybe in Lake Como, waving to my neighbours George and Amal each morning.

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  1. melbomartin

    Oh no … mine have been “dropping the H bomb” here lately. They are very tired and melty and I assume partly due to transition from holidays to school. Also the heat.

    But yeah, I know. Sometimes, like last night, I can handle it. I have found that my calm transfers to them so eventually they settle down. Other times, I’m a bit melty too and those are the real challenging moments for me.

    Hugs to you all. xxxxx

  2. Christie

    This is a very timely post for me. This part especially: “it is easy to forget that our kids are complex little human beings whose behaviour varies depending on external factors”. Too often I am annoyed by my kids when they do the smallest things – I forget that they may have had a tough day too, they may be grappling with something in their minds.

    The bit about the end about giving yourself to your kids is the part I struggle with every day. At bedtime mine want me to lie with them and I think: “I’ve been with you all day. Can I have this little time for me now?” But…. they’re only little for a short time. Will I look back and wish I’d given more?

  3. Kate from Food From Our Life

    Beautiful truth… This parenting malaky is fucking hard… I’ll bet he shocked himself with those words too..

  4. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    So tiny, so complex, these little humans we create.

    I’m like you, Christie, jealously guarding “me time” so that patience is at an all time low each night when the kids inevitably drag out bedtime. How to explain to a child that their mum needs space from them without that seeming hurtful? The moment the kids sense my desperation to be away from them, they harder they cling. Only natural really but makes for a very long day for me. Verrrry long.

    I am sure we will look back and wish we’d given more – ALL of us. We can never do or be enough for our kids because what is enough when you love someone more than life itself? Hopefully, when we add it all up at the end, we will realise we were out in front all along.


  5. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    He HURT himself with those words, Kate. He was hurting so much. The situation escalated so quickly and he could not stop himself. God, it was torturous to watch it.

    This IS fucking hard.


  6. Kylie

    We’ve had a few of these moments with Riley (3) lately. It’s all too easy to focus on a recovering child to the detriment of the others unfortunately. We’re reaching for the wheel here too. <3

  7. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Oh, Kylie, I can only imagine how the issue compounds when you throw in the rollercoaster you have been on with your little guy. Hard work all round but you’re a beautiful mum and I am sure Riley knows that. xxx

  8. dearestdear

    I was abruptly brought to a halt last night by my 11 year old son quietly saying “why does everything have to turn into yelling?” As he is older I tried to explain to him that yes I hate the yelling too, but I am frustrated with having to constantly ask you guys (4 of them) to do the same things over and over….put away your school bags, pls pick up your clothes, have you done your homework? have you cleaned your teeth? I hate the yelling too but being a mother is FRUSTRATING and complicated – I agreed with him and felt guilty for all the yelling but also angry because I dont want to yell but I dont just walk around the house yelling when home by myself….it only gets to yelling after listening to constant fighting or tripping over the school bag that I had asked/reminded 3 times to put away.
    Give yourself a break Angie you sound like a beautiful Mum. When I look back on my own childhood the thing that stands out the most is the fact that I always knew I was loved by both my Mum and my Dad – and perfect parents they weren’t. None of us are.


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