When Bee was about three or four years old I could make her cry by pretending to be a lion.
It would start with just a serious face and a very quiet roar and initially she’d just look a little concerned. “Stop it Mummy!” she’d say. But I couldn’t stop. I’d roar again, with the same deadly serious look on my face. She’d look a bit more concerned, so I’d do it again. Her bottom lip would start to tremble and I knew this was the tipping point – I could stop and smile and she’d be ok, or I could do it one more time and she’d cry. Obviously I had to do it one more time.
I found it hilarious. I am a cruel, cruel mummy.
Belle is harder to frighten, but much easier to make angry. She has a fiery temper, and pretty much anything will send her stomping to her room. Last week she had a friend for tea and I was opening a jar of jam for them to have on their rice pudding. I pretended I couldn’t open it, having loosened it slightly, and passed it to her friend to have a go. The friend opened it and laughed. Belle on the other hand didn’t find it funny. She apparently thought I was ‘mocking her’, and ran off to her room, sobbing. A tad melodramatic I think you’ll agree.
Now obviously I don’t want to bring up a complete drama queen, so I am trying to teach her the importance of being able to laugh at herself, and not take herself too seriously. With this in mind, Bee and I have taken to calling her Roy. She hates it, but we think it is hysterical. I’m actually laughing as I type. She just looks so much like a Roy to us, and of course when we tell her this, she gets even more furious.
I like to think that a bit of regular teasing is character strengthening, and my children certainly don’t hold make from insulting me on a daily basis, but I do sometimes wonder if I’m not a little too cruel. When Belle has a tantrum and is throwing herself about on her bed, should I be holding her and making soothing noises or is it ok to laugh and say ‘get over yourself Roy?’
I’m not sure. Let me know what you think…