It had been a bit of a morning. There were tears (mine) and tantrums (all of ours) but as we parked up outside nursery I was determined to turn things around and try a parenting technique I’d been reading about.
Love Bombing it’s called – an attempt to influence a person by lavish demonstrations of attention and affection. I really did have the best of intentions but instead fear I’ve damaged Ella irreparably and think I’d better start saving right now for the therapy she will no doubt need in approximately thirteen years time.
All in a row, they sat – Ella and her two sidekicks looking like butter wouldn’t melt after two and a half hours of carnage. My nerves were jangling, run ragged doesn’t come close. I took a deep breath and turned to look at their snotty little faces.
‘Right, you lot,’ I began in my best stern voice. They only bothered to flick their eyes towards me because they were still tightly buckled in their car seats, otherwise I would have been wasting my breath.
‘Now, listen to me,’ I continued without the merest flicker of softness and turned first to Theo sitting next to the window behind the passenger seat.
‘I love you!’ I pointed at my (youngest by a minute) little one and broke into what I felt must have been the warmest of smiles before turning to Louis and continuing, ‘and I love you and..’
At that moment Theo leant over and whacked me crossly on the arm which wasn’t the response I was expecting. It threw me off course and that’s all I can say in my defence because mid way through yet another broken ‘moment’ and as I took my keys from the ignition and went to open the car door there was a plaintive whisper from the least plaintive little girl I’ve ever met.
Big, fat, silent Bambi tears slid down Ella’s cheeks.
‘But what about me?’ she whispered and my heart quite simply broke a little.
Confusion quickly turned to shame as I realised I hadn’t bombed my one and only girl with the same declaration of love as her brothers. I’d been interrupted, distracted, side tracked as happens so frequently and now, there she sat, feeling fundamentally unloved.
It was the whisper that did it. And the glistening eyes. That’s not the Ella I know. The tough, fierce, scary girl that seems to be the boss of not only me but everyone she meets. She cuddles less and so somehow I find myself cuddling her less. She is sparing with her kisses so I have to remind myself to
kiss her as many times as the boys. She doesn’t seem needy and she doesn’t seem insecure. She isn’t needy or insecure but she still needs to be told that she’s loved.
Oh God, just shoot me now.
I’m not giving up on this love bombing idea. As we walked into nursery and I gave them all their goodbye cuddles I don’t think I’ve ever squeezed Ella so tight. I muttered to myself as I walked away, head hung in shame. Bad, bad triplet mummy. This job is hard.
I’m sorry, gorgeous girl. Promise I’ll make it up to you. You’d better watch out – there are more love bombs coming your way this afternoon than you can shake your stinky blanket at…