We went round to our friend’s house for dinner on Saturday. I had baked a chocolate cake using sweet potato instead of flour and it was looking SO AMAZING! I had decorated it with tiny delicate mandarin slices. I am not a baker in anyway, everything I’ve ever tried to bake has come out as kind of pancake. I was feeling sublimely chuffed.
So, get this.
When I hopped out of the car at the gate, our neighbours were there moving their bull into a paddock. (Hehe. Our friends these days.) I was out of the car for about three minutes.
When I got back in again Ramona, 5, had hopped in the front seat and WAS EATING THE CAKE!
SHE. WAS. EATING. THE. CAKE.
EATING IT! MY CHOCOLATE CAKE! WITH HER HANDS! PUTTING IN HER MOUTH!
Okay, let’s cut a long story short.
I went apeshit.
Inside and out.
And I stewed for about 12 hours.
I was feeling like super UGH about it. About her eating it (are we bringing up a child with no respect??!!!) and about my reaction (I had a right to let her know I was upset, but I didn’t have to say I’M NOT SPEAKING TO YOU! In a sulk. I actually said that. ugh.)
And then we took a course of action.
And do you know what it was?
It was to seek out a way for Ramona to make more friends.
Because, deep down, I was aware that for a few weeks Ramona has been expressing a need to me. A need to connect with people her age, in the way she loves, in an equal manner (we have plenty of friends but not many that Ramona finds a sort of equilibrium with, do you know what I mean?)
And I honestly think that eating my chocolate cake was the culmination of her expressing that need.
Every behaviour, every misbehaviour, is communication from our children.
We get a chance to meet the need they are expressing, or punish them for expressing that need in a way that we didn’t like.
What is especially funny (erm, or not) is that the VERY DAY of CakeGate I had just published a brand new post all about not exploding and being empathetic with our kids over on Parent.co and had recorded a vlog about why we don’t punish, and why we aim for peaceful communicaiton with our kids.
It didn’t occur to me that Ramona would eat that cake. We do generally have a fairly mutually respectful relationship. My mettle was tested and I failed initially. My meltdown wasn’t helped by Ramona piping up “You are mad now mummy but tomorrow morning you will say you are sorry!”
But then I didn’t fail! Ramona asked something of us with that behaviour, we took some time instead of acting punitively and then we stepped up.
We went along to an unschooling meet up in another town the next day, and another the next day, where there were no less than FIVE FEISTY FEMALE FIVE YEAR OLDS!!! And Ramona has been a ball of wonder and non-cake-eating delight since.
Argh. So there you go. Learning. ALWAYS LEARNING.
We went ahead and ate the cake. I didn’t mention it to my friends, I just recalled the story my mum told me of when my Nana was hosting a party and the cat got on the table moments before the guests arrived and ate half the cake. My Nana just picked out the worst bits and put a bit more cream on top. I did a Nana and budged my choccy cake all into the centre a bit. (*waves to friends* sorry guys, it was yum though aye?!)