I’ve been a little uptight this week. A little short and snippy, the odd growl of frustration emerging. I don’t think I have been the best Mum, wife, daughter, sister and friend I could have been, and that makes me feel bad. It’s not my fault though, it’s the beggleybooglebeggkeyboog.
My slightly irritable mood is down to a few things. The first is some “what’s-my-future” stress. At this same point in time with Girly no1 I had a bit of an identity crisis. What am I now? Where am I going in life? How do I be a great Mum and be Me? What should I be spending time on? So many questions. I am the best version of myself when I have answers to these questions and I know my life goals I am working towards, so I need to figure this stuff out. I’ve been a bit hot, sweaty and wriggly, permanently feeling like I’ve just got dressed after swimming but am still in the changing rooms. My hair has been sticking to my face so I’ve toyed with shaving it off. I should note here that I love the heat and the sunshine. I’m not complaining about it at all, it’s just that I’m feeling far too “fleshy”. I’m still too fat for most of my summer clothing and not really keen on having all my extra flesh on show. I’ve had a couple (cough cough) of hangovers from my birthday weekend. Yes I have a weekend, not just a day, it’s the queen in me. I have stopped breast feeding, nearly seven months after starting again, and I think my body is probably flooded with hormones as the last big shift in my post-baby body is made. I found a lump on my breast last week – that didn’t help my mood. It turned out to be a blocked milk duct that I was able to massage out over 3 or 4 days but it wasn’t very nice regardless. Everyone has been ill with some weird bug. That hasn’t helped. And maybe I have also been feeling this haze of terrorism that’s around us at the minute. Seeing parents lose their children is devastating at any time and it does make you stop and think about your job as protector of your babies. It is so scary when this is interrupted by forces outside of your control. All of these things combined are making it much easier to rattle me. Normally I would shake it off the small things and carry on about my life, processing along the way. But I am flaring up with annoyance regularly. Some of this is due to a certain small person poking the bear.
Girly no1 (aged 2.5) had a new noise, it goes something like this: beggleybooglebeggkeyboog. And she says it over, and over, and over again. She says it when I ask her a question. If I speak to her sister. If she doesn’t want to eat her dinner. If I don’t respond immediately to her every demand. If I am on the phone. If she doesn’t like what I’m saying. Anytime really. She looks at me with goading eyes, dribbly chin lifted in the air and says it at varying volumes. Beggleybooglebeggkeyboog. It makes my hackles rise. Actually, it makes them stand on end and start doing somersaults – whatever they are. I can feel annoyance rising up from my stomach to my throat threatening to bubble out in a blood-curdling scream. That’s a lie, I hate screaming. I would never scream. But maybe I would shout. I can cope when she walks around saying it to herself – babble away little one, I think, that’s fine. It’s when it is her response to something I want from her. I ask her to be a helpful big sister and grab a nappy, “No Mummy. beggleybooglebeggkeyboog beggleybooglebeggkeyboog beggleybooglebeggkeyboog”. Or when I ask her to stop waving her spaghetti clad fork in circles around her head flinging it over the white walls and the wooden floors “beggleybooglebeggkeyboog beggleybooglebeggkeyboog beggleybooglebeggkeyboog”. Or sometimes randomly mid-conversation about what lovely things we should do today…”beggleybooglebeggkeyboog beggleybooglebeggkeyboog beggleybooglebeggkeyboog”. I just don’t know why. I know that these noises, like other habits she has picked up along the way, are normal and will go away and I should ignore it. She’s testing me. But this week I am flunking her test. I know she’s pushing me. But this week, I’m falling over. I’m tired and irritable and it’s making me snap. I should note here that if you don’t know me, I’m pretty calm. I’m not a shouter, I don’t get too mad and I’ve never had a fight. But this week I have raised my voice daily and I have hit both the steering wheel and the kitchen worktop with the palm of my hand, in pure frustration. Do you remember when you were younger there would be those songs like the one from the Club advert that people sang over and over again – “if you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit, join our club” or “pss pss, chukka chukka mwah tut aaah”. And who could forget the “Whassuuuuuuup” face circa the late 90’s Bud advert. Our current version of these is the beggleybooglebeggkeyboog. Her new noise is the mother equivalent of locking me in a dark room and playing the Crazy Frog or Gangnam Style over and over again. It makes me want to cry. It’s driving me fucking nuts. By 4pm each day, I am done. I consider prosecco or cider. Sometimes I can abstain, particularly if I am hungover, but not always. I wait until 6. That’s far more acceptable.
It’s not just the noise that is winding me up, though that is the main perpetrator. She has become difficult in conversation and she asks the same question over and over again:
G1: “Mummy whose drink is that?”
Me: “That’s yours darling”
G1: “Is that my drink?”
Me: “Yes, that’s yours.”
G1: “Whose drink is that Mummy?”
Me: “Whose drink do you think it is?”
G1: “Mine! Is that my drink?”
Me: “Yes baby. We just said that didn’t we?”
G1: “Is it mine though Mummy?”
And so on until I want to stab myself in the eye with a rusty screwdriver. In isolation, I don’t mind. I can do this a few times before I lose control. But all day, it is relentless. She also plays with the doors, a big No-No following numerous trapped fingers, scraped toes and lots of tears. Just yesterday, having repeatedly asked her to leave the doors alone and calmly reminding her of what happens when she doesn’t, I had had enough so we introduced the Naughty Step. I put her on it telling her no toys and no talking to anyone. She seemed very non-plussed as she lounged on our thickly carpeted stairs in full view of the widescreen TV in “The Other Room” as it is known in our house, just like the Other Stage at Glasto. I thought I had done OK as I asked her at the end of her time why she had been on the step and she told me it was because “I keep saying ‘no’ to Mummy” (no apology for the beggleybooglebeggkeyboog noise though, I thought haughtily). I didn’t get it quite right though. Later in the same day I was met with “No Mummy, I don’t want to talk to you. Stop talking. Just. Stop. Talking”. On a good day this would really make me laugh. What do you even say to this?! It’s hilarious to have her little chubby finger pointed at me through her mane of blonde curls. And a part of me is pleased. She is naturally quite compliant and Husband and I talked a few weeks back about not quashing her desire to question and challenge, not wanting her to be too “yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir”. I stifled my laugh and reminded her what she had been on the Naughty Step for. “Can I go on the Naughty Step now Mummy?” she asked me. Hmm.
So in these moments of frustration, I am trying to do better. I am trying to stay calm. I am trying to be my usual rational self. I say how we want to teach Girly no2 actual words. I try to ignore “the noise” and I ask the question again in my same calm tone. I try not to resort to “if you do/don’t…then…”. But this is really hard when everything is met with beggleybooglebeggkeyboog. What does it even mean? beggleybooglebeggkeyboog. It doesn’t even sound like anything. What is she trying to communicate with me? Is it lack of attention? Is she feeling jealous? Is she picking up on my stress? Or is it just an annoying noise? I’ve tried asking her about it. “Mummy, just say it, just like this – beggleybooglebeggkeyboog.” I say it. It annoys me even more.
PC (Pre-Children), I used to see stressed parents growling at their heart-meltingly cute children and think “how could you be cross with them? Look at their little faces!” I didn’t know about the power of a beggleybooglebeggkeyboog. Now I get it. And I send virtual apologies to anyone I thought this about. I also apologise to my Husband, because coming home from work must be like walking into a Lions Den at feeding time. I know I am short tempered and I know I can’t always get rid of it once they are in bed. For this I apologise to you, Husband. I know that in the grand scheme of things, I am lucky to have my Girlies and that this noise is minor. But it’s still bloody annoying. I don’t know how we will find our way out of this one. How do you escape a beggleybooglebeggkeyboog? Probably just by ignoring it, that’s how any previous annoying habits have been cracked. In the meantime, I should avoid alcohol and get lots of sleep. HAHAHAHA! Cheers!