I have no authority over Arthur. I’ve come to realise this recently but I’ve suspected it since he was about nine months old when he would take his nappy and trousers off as soon as I’d wrangled him into them or repeatedly ask for a drink just to then dribble it onto the rug to make a lake. Now I have a two-year-old boy who spends roughly 16 hours a day with me, seven days a week, who won’t listen to reason and often wilfully disobeys me.
I shouldn’t have expected anything else really. Even my cats dont respect my authority; I suspect I am just not very authoritative. And that is absolutely fine if there is some other way of getting around a toddler with a listening problem. I can coax and cajoul, bribe, look very stern and if all else fails, hand over the task of disciplining to the best friend or husband. Im not ashamed to admit that raising Arthur is at times a collaborative effort.
The problem comes when his disobedience/exuberance/being a toddler runs head long into other people who are *not cool* with said disobedience/exuberance/being a toddler. For example, Arty loves an audience and sometimes if he’s pretending to bump into people gently to then apologise and laugh it’s all very cute and funny and every one has a dear old time. If he runs at a child, dog, pensioner intent on bumping them or pushing them over in a game of tag, this suddenly involves other more delicate creatures in our life of hurricane Arthur. It makes it seem as if he is violent or aggressive or naughty and that I can’t control him. I can’t. But he isn’t. He’s just 2 years old and excitable.
The best outcome when this kind of thing happens is that the aforementioned delicate creature can laugh it off and understand that Arthur is playing. That rarely happens. The normal response involves glares, tuts, grimaces at me and occasionally the other party will wait until Arthur apologises at them, personally, as if he knows that he’s done something wrong?!
Hopefully this is a stage that he will grow out of and will learn to play gently and moderately but until then I will just have to keep saying sorry for him and looking like a terrible parent who is apparently raising a child for bear-baiting/cock fighting/Spartan combat. That’s fine. I am looking forward to people finally appreciating that bringing up a hyper active child is tough and, actually, he’s a lovely kid who just wants to play.