I’m just going to ask it, why are kids are complete angels for their grandparents and absolute bloody terrors for their parents?
Why is it that my 17 month old will pretty much turn into the kid from the exorcist the moment I try to put his sun hat on, yet when granny or granda pull the same trick, he simply accepts it and flashes the big blues at them?
‘Sure he’s good as gold, not a moan out of that child,’ they’ll say, as I swear blind that he is actually going to need an intervention from The Supernanny before I go off the rails at his epic tantrums.
And it’s not just the sun hat… it’s everything. I’m quite sure my neighbours think I’m rubbing acid on his skin, when in fact it’s just sun cream.
No, really I’m not murdering him, I’m just trying to put on a fresh nappy!
He won’t eat anything remotely healthy for me. Cheese and yogurt is the height of his goodness when I’m around, yet for the grandparents, he’ll gobble down pretty much anything they offer him.
Same goes for sitting in a café or restaurant. With me, he’s a screeching eel trying to climb on the table or out of the high chair and bomb around like a demented hen… for them? Well you get the idea, good as feckin’ gold don’t ya know?!
And it’s not just my parents, oh no, it’s my husband’s parents too! He’s an angel for all of them.
Most of the time I try and shrug it off, but then there are the days when it gets to me. What am I doing wrong? Am I not stern enough? Am I too stern? Am I not consistent with the rules? Am I not paying him enough attention? Am I crowding him? Am I just a shit parent? All of that could be true. There are days when I just feel like I wasn’t’ cut out for this parenting thing, at all.
But, then my mum in her ultimate wisdom just looks at me and says; ‘all kids play up on their parents, it’s a universal fact… you were the same!’
And there it is. A seasoned mother’s wisdom to the rescue... I clearly have so much to learn.
When you think about it, she is probably right. But I do also think that most grandparents delight in being able to treat their grandchildren and not have to deal with the tough stuff... they've been there, done that and bought the t-shirt and now they have a new one on that is much easier to wear.
When it comes down to it, I think most parents can attest to the fact that their children make liars out of them on a regular basis; that they only really let us see their deepest, darkest sides and no one else. And while that can be beyond grating a lot of the time, I think it also shows that they have the greatest trust in us as their parents to show us their full, raw emotions. We see their tantrums in full colour, yet we’d still happily rip both our arms off for them without a moment’s hesitation.