Sometimes you need someone to nudge your behaviour before you realise that maybe – maybe – it’s not as good as it might be.
Last night was a case in point. I arrived home from work to hear Amber wailing upstairs and a stressed Lovely Melanie trying to teach Millie about tens and units in the dining room.
“I’m trying to teach Millie some difficult stuff that even I don’t properly understand,” she said to me. “Can you go and sort Amber out, please? She’s been doing that for ten minutes now.”
“I’ll go and have a shout at her,” I said, assuming she’d been naughty.
“No, don’t shout at her, she’s been saying she doesn’t want to go to school tomorrow because they didn’t give her enough time to eat her lunch today. Millie had the same trouble when she started, remember?”
I did my “heavy walk” up the stairs, the one which tells the girls “I Am Approaching! And I Am Full Of Wrath! Beware!”
But by the time I reached the top step I was chastened: why on earth was I going to yell at an unhappy little girl? My unhappy little girl! Surely there were better ways to deal with this than by shouting? Good grief, is this what I’ve become – some kind of horrible Victorian father? 😦
I say down with Amber, gave her a cuddle and wiped her eyes. For the next ten minutes I patiently explained that there was nothing to be frightened of at school; that, yes, it was a bit new and strange, and it might even be hard sometimes, but all her teachers were there to help.
Within two minutes she’d stopped crying; after five she was laughing.
That wasn’t so hard.
The hard bit – as always – was remembering that she’s only four, and that ten minutes of love and patience is worth any amount of anger and shouting.