Christmas seems like a distant memory now (thank god. Not really. Well, a bit), but I am afraid Mince Pie-Gate remains all too fresh in my mind. We were visiting family friends (i.e., not our own friends, and Manners were required). Having munched her way messily through half a Panatone, Eve demanded "mince pie." I knew what she wanted: she wanted it presented in its silver case straight from the box. I should have intervened but instead I politely watched this nice lady remove the case and pop the pie on a plate for her. Eve, in my arms for a better vantage point, took one look, let out a stricken wail, picked up the mince pie and hurled it with all her might against this woman's chest. It smashed into a thousand bits all over her and the carpet and us. I wanted the crumby floor to swallow me right up.
This was all after Eve had made a beeline for the Christmas tree as soon as we arrived, yanked a decoration off and snapped it clean in two. By the neck. It was an angel and looked like it had been passed down at least one generation. A bit of me genuinely considered pocketing the two bits and not telling them. Who can remember every spindly decoration on their tree? Then I thought that theft on top of destruction of property was a poor example to set. We confessed and embarked on a lengthy "sorry" routine.
Eve is not very good at apologising to people. She is really good at making amends with inanimate objects. "Sorry, Door," is a favourite as she bashes into it with her buggy; "sorry, Car," as she's running over it with her scooter. So there is empathy there. It's just a bit misdirected.
The tantrums do seem to have started early. One helpful gem from my dad was: the Terrible Twos start at one and last until they're 20. Brilliant. How useful. I do wonder though what the neighbours must think as they listen to the screaming through the wall. (Hers, not mine, incidentally.) Either I won't let her go to nursery in her pyjamas, or I try to brush her teeth, or (crime of crimes) I prevent her from eating a whole stock cube fresh from the packet.
The rational (hopeful) part of me wants to believe this is all just pretty regular stuff and a phase and she'll grow out of it bla bla bla. But I know a lot of toddlers, and I am sorry to say haven't seen any of them behave quite so outrageously as ours. When they occasionally do lash out or give her a sneaky shove, I admit I am always rather grateful! But much more usual is for her friends to be playing nicely, sharing, engaging with one another, acknowledging each other's existence, that sort of thing, whilst she shouts "MINE" and flings tins of tomatoes across the room.
But how best to deal with their nutty behaviour and outrageous demands? Discipline them? (How how how?) Ignore it? (Hard when you are hit in the head with tinned goods.) Reason with them? Well you can't reason with unreasonable people. Search me. She's worse than Mariah Carey.
I am a pretty crappy disciplinarian, but even I draw the line at a stock cube. I spoil all her fun.