It is not a skill that I possess. I have tried it, with my unsuspecting husband as the target, but to no avail! Six year old Winnie, on the other hand, is a master at it. She is full of feelings and emotions that she cannot process or understand. And so she gives them away.
Today the process began as soon as she woke up. She was cross with the world, everyone and everything in it. I didn’t put her socks in the right place; they were the wrong socks; I did her hair all wrong (there wasn’t a right!).
From the minute Winnie got out of bed she was desperately trying to provoke an argument, probably because she just didn’t want to go to school. I managed not to be drawn in to any ‘discussions’, to shrug it off. I even managed a smile. Until we left the house.
It was then that Winnie upped the ante. As we set off for school she decided to employ the ‘stumble-trip orangutan walk technique’. This is designed to trigger maximum irritation. It involves walking like an orangutan, stooped over, arms dangling, legs bent, looking at the floor with both feet turned in. The result is a stumble-trip every couple of steps, with me having to grab her to stop her falling over.
After about 10 minutes of this I suggested that maybe she needed to practise walking on her own and looking where she was going without holding my hand. I explained that if she did this I would hold her hand again. Of course she didn’t. She also screamed and shouted at the top of her voice for the remaining 20 minutes of the walk.
And so I entered the school gate looking like a cold-hearted, wicked mother, as my child followed me wailing: “I just want to hold your hand Mummy!” She even managed to squeeze out a single tear for the benefit of her shocked looking friends and their parents.
But within minutes of walking through the classroom door she was off chatting and laughing with her friends.
Mission complete! Winne had successfully handed me a bundle of stress and anxiety. I then had to go to work. .