This morning I invented a new game! If you’re a parent of young children, why not give it a go? You might even get a full house (I managed it!).
Print out the list supplied below and wait for tantrum to occur (if impatient, break TV). Once tantrum is in full flow, go through list, ticking off each moment as it occurs. This can be in any order (although list is roughly chronological)
Tantrum Bingo Checklist
Child: Makes stupid request in ridiculously irritating, simpering voice
For extra irritation value, leans head to one side and adopts the classic fake “I’m shy” pose
Carer: Refuses request
Refusal must be made in suitably “pretend firm” voice (although inside carer may be dying, knowing already whither this leads).
Child: Commences fake crying
This may, and almost definitely will, be followed by real crying. In the meantime, carer will battle with temptation to offer to “give [child] something to cry about”.
Carer: Considers backing down at the first hurdle
NB Carer will do this at every single hurdle. This is because he/she is weak.
Child: Adopts classic tantrum pose
This should be prone and writhing, albeit in a way that is unlikely to cause any injury (a friend’s child even used to set up a cushion before hurling herself dramatically to the floor – that, my friends, is a tantrum professional at work).
Carer: Mutters “fuck you, Supernanny”
NB Carer does not need to have read or watched Supernanny in his/her life, ever.
Carer: Briefly deludes self that he/she can manipulate Tantrum Child
For one exchange only, carer will get child to do bidding by asking child to do the opposite of what’s required. Carer will feel smug but this never, ever works again
Child: Smears snot and tears on sofa / floor / carer’s clothing / sibling’s head
Carer, meanwhile, briefly thinks the unthinkable, as in “actually, I don’t have a cute child after all”
Carer: Wishes Tantrum Child was more like Non-Tantrum Sibling
It is acceptable for carer to change mind five minutes later, deciding Non-Tantrum Sibling is in fact overly smug.
Carer: If partner is around, has cathartic moment of connection with said person
Eyes meet and one half of couple calls shared charge “a total twat”, while the other agrees.
Carer: Has unspoken falling-out with partner five seconds later
This is because each person suspects that deep down, the other is holding his/her rubbish parenting style responsible for all this.
Child: Tosses in curveball moment of pedantry
e.g. “But MUMMY! What does ‘right this minute’ even MEAN???” Once more, carer briefly considers throwing in towel, on the basis that child is tortured genius.
Carer: Has fleeting moment of sympathy for Tantrum Child
Then hardens once more – after all, that’s what caused all this. Bloody liberal parenting. Pah!
Child: Reaches point of actually being beside self
“But I [gasp, gasp] can’t [gasp, gasp] STOP [gasp, gasp] crying now!!!!” This shouldn’t be funny but it is, a bit.
Carer: Issues ultimatum
Several ultimatums (ultimata?) may follow – each should involve some random counting and half-hearted “I mean it this time” statements.
Child: Demands cuddle
May not in fact want cuddle, but is manipulative sod, even in depths of ridiculously self-indulgent despair.
Child: Finally takes ultimatum seriously, for reasons unexplained
Collapses in heap of exhausted, pseudo-apologetic tears, fearing loss of Star Wars time may in fact be for real.
Carer: Accepts meaningless apology
Then goes back on ultimatum and lose all self-respect. Considers making up a game based around whole sorry incident.
All items ticked = Full-on, classic über-tantrum – well done! It probably means your child is really creative and special or something.
Most items ticked = Getting there – try being a slightly more rubbish carer and see what happens.
Half or fewer items ticked = Your child doesn’t have proper tantrums. I hate you. Waaaah!