“Not that one, that one”

When my children were small I had a terrible fear of their temper tantrums.

On one occasion, I sat on the edge of the bed, as my two year old daughter screamed and shouted out on the landing during a tantrum in the middle of the night.

My wife, sat resolute and calm next to me on the bed.

I was saying “what are we going to do, what are we going to do” in a voice full of panic, whilst my wife said we are going to sit here and wait for it to stop.

She shouted out, at intervals, “Are you ready for a cuddle yet?”

Eventually, the shouting and screaming stopped, and the little feet came into the bedroom for the promised hug, before being put back to bed.

Worse for me, than the tantrums, was the feeding saga. My child refusing the spoon of food offered to her mouth whilst saying “not that one, that one”

In an effort to placate her, I would swap the food on the spoon for the food I assumed she had selected and would be confronted again with “not that one, that one”

I felt so stressed and helpless by it all. I found much more satisfaction in changing a dirty nappy because I could just get on with it, and feel that I had restored to my child, cleanliness and comfort.

This concept of being offered a choice, and feeling a sense of bewilderment at which path to take has been uppermost in my mind in recent weeks.

I am concerned that as I approach my mid-fifties, I want to take on and develop new skills in areas which are completely different to the ones from which I have made my living.

I could so easily decide to relax and watch TV or go to the pub, but I want to increase my knowledge and have something different to offer the world in the early years of my retirement.

I am finding it hard to make a decision, like my child was at being given choices on her plate from which she could not choose, I too find myself torn between the differing possibilities.

The inner struggle is a friend to me, it protects me from haste, and it affords me the space to think it through, accepting that the process of constant inner dialogue and discussion with friends will enable me to say at last “not that one, that one.”

My next blog will be: Time each day to be Me

William Defoe


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