The small rewards help – a lot

Fun at the beach. Day 16/366.

As any parent knows, parenting is hard – really hard sometimes.

There’s moments when you can’t say anything right and your child goes off at you for not understanding him. And this is a pre-adolescent. God help me when he’s actually an adolescent.

You just want to laugh at how ridiculous they’re being but you can’t because that sets them off even more. So you just take in deep breaths and try to act calmly because you know that if you get hysterical like they’re being, then things really will spiral out of control.

He comes to talk to you in a little moment of calmness and you say the wrong thing again. Out he storms, bangs the door and things are back to yuck.

You just remind yourself that parenting is bloody hard, continue on with getting dinner ready and reward yourself with some alcohol while preparing dinner. And you know that they will eventually go to bed although because it’s so damn hot it will take a while for them to actually go to sleep and you hope like hell that this doesn’t make them even grumpier the next evening.

It’s like treading a very fine line. You wonder if that class you started on a Tuesday night is pushing things when you realise that he starts back at school next week and he’ll have his Wednesday evening commitments as well. That’s two nights out of the week gone and this doesn’t even include sport and social stuff.

Oh well. You brush that aside and decide to deal with that when and if the shit hits the fan.

But then there’s moments like this and you realise that there might be some light at the end of the tunnel after all.

You’re at the beach and you’ve had a swim and you’re lying on the towel relaxing. You watch your offspring in the water having a great time and your friend calls him a dolphin because he loves the water so much.

Then he decides to get out of the water  and gets you to help him spread out his towel next to you. He lies down next to you and says that this is the first time ever that he’s come out of the water and just relaxed on his towel instead of running around like a moron (his word).

You realise that he is gradually growing up and observing his own behaviour and that all that work you’ve done as a parent is maybe working after all.

You enjoy this moment while you can because you know it might be fleeting. And sure enough it is. You’re soon being annoyed by the previously calm child as he hops around on your towel with sandy feet and dripping wet body and ignoring your requests for him to move.