I’m typing this as you are in bed upstairs and you are shouting. The words ‘I HATE YOU’ ring through the cottage and I try to carry on as normal but it’s hard. I clear your plate and wipe the contents left into the incinerator and let the tap slowly wash away the freshly made meal. Your freshly made meal that you asked for that I spent the last hour cooking. You were upset about last nights choice so I said I would cook you what you wanted and you asked for spaghetti bolognaise so that’s what I made us all. I carefully chopped the chorizo and put it in the large non-stick pan and added the crushed garlic that I had peeled and squeezed through it. I made a tomatoes sauce using the passata, tin tomatoes, red wine and other things letting it boil away as I listened to my new CD I’d bought that day from a local charity shop. I’m not sure what I enjoyed most the music or that £1.49 price that I bought it for. I couldn’t afford the CD when it came out yet it pleases me I paid so little for it now that I can. I turned round to see the onion sitting on the side when it should have been in the tomato sauce and hurriedly chopped it, fried them in butter and then added to the boiling mixture…

You, to me, are so precious. Your passion for all that you do is something I really hope never changes. You hug likes it’s the last hug you’ll have, you cry like your world has just ended no matter the cause and you love fiercely and openly, another thing I hope never changes. What I find difficult with you is that your passion boils over into silliness that can’t be reined in, emotion that pours out from you that I just can’t mop up. Your pure unadulterated anger at me totally conflicts with your desperation for me when you need me. I know you love me and I know you love me deeply but to hear ‘I HATE YOU’ still wounds no matter how many times you say it. It isn’t water off a ducks back and I don’t think I’ll ever develop the Teflon coating that I need to save me from your words.

I know you. From the moment I saw your eyes I knew you. If you were upset just to be put on my chest and hear my heartbeat would calm you down. After feeding you – you were the most successful of my breastfeeding attempts – you would sigh as your eyes closed in a slumber of mummy heaven and my breast was your pillow and I would watch you for what seemed like forever. You gave me motherhood in a way I’d not experienced before and for that I thank you and always will.

‘I HATE YOU!!!’ has stopped and I think you’re asleep now. I’ll pop my head round your door as I do every night to check that you’re okay. I don’t check the light sleeper or the older brother but you are on my way to bed and your door is always ajar so it’s easy to take 5 mins to see you. You sleep like superman having kicked the covers off in one of your dreams where you are no doubt saving the world. To you the baddies are real and they need fighting no matter when or where they come. I will look at you and think on the million miles away you are now from the puce, tear filled boy a few hours earlier as sleep brings peace even to those who hate. The boy who tried to hit me, kick me as I carried you upstairs to be put to bed early for being rude a rudeness that carried on from the supermarket. You will learn eventually when someone larger punches you that hitting your brothers, pushing them, tripping them up isn’t the way to go in life. You’ll learn that people won’t want to be around those who shout toilet humour words and that the comedy effect only lasts until you are about 5 and then those you meet will just think you are a naughty little boy.

We have time. You’re not 5.


I know that with you fighting fire with fire doesn’t work. When the red mist hits you and the rage fills your every being I know that the time for calmly talking is later. I have held you for what seems like eternity when you couldn’t calm down. My chest on your back and my arms wrapping round you holding you whilst I calmly talked to you about how much I loved you and that I understood your anger and that I would hold you until you calmed down. You were ridged but your cries became quieter, your anger left you and your body relaxed in my arms as I breathed a sigh of relief. I turned you inwards to me and your tear stained face stained my top but we didn’t care. Your arms tightly held me and I told you I loved you.

These times are lessening but the intensity is increasing when they do. Your punches hurt now, your weight means you are heavy to move into another room or carry upstairs and whilst I know that you’d never mean to hurt me I’m beginning to see that it could be a possibility through accident.

I stop typing and resting my elbows on the desk I put my head in my hands and sigh a deep loud sigh and think of the, in the words of the so called baby whisperer Tracy Hogg, ‘accidental parenting’ that happened to land me at this point in time. But then I shouldn’t really be thinking of how I got here but more where I go from here.

I don’t like the cries of ‘oh he’s a middle child, what do you expect?’ or ‘he’s a boy! They’re all like it!’ I have 2 others who aren’t and being a middle child shouldn’t mean you’re written off. He needs to learn how to handle his cocktail of emotions that it’s okay to be angry and fiery but it’s what you do with all the anger that’s important. I feel a few pillows being scattered about for him to punch should he need too and time in the garden shouting as loudly as he can so he can hear his anger and feel it leave him. It’s worth a go, you never know…

I love him. Totally. Unconditionally and forever but I need him to handle his anger for his future life as no one should make others do what they want just by being bigger, stronger or shouting horrible things to be powerful. He will grow taller than me that’s a given but before that happens he will grow stronger so I need to know I am safe when he gets angry. I will not be frightened of my own child, I have never been frightened of anyone and refuse to start now especially not of someone of my own creation.

Fire is mesmerising, it has great power and strength and it’s dangerous but handled in the right way it’s beautiful and life giving and I feel the same way about him…


About littlewhitecottage

Emma is a qualified teacher with 14 years of teaching in many different settings. From teaching adults and children at a music school to choosing to work in a demanding primary school that was failing (which meant moving from an outstanding school – her colleagues were aghast!) to running her own sewing business for the last 5 ½ years teaching all ages how to sew: Emma loves to teach.
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11 Responses to Fire…

  1. Leeanne says:

    Oh Emma, what a heart felt and emotive piece that has brought tears to my eyes. I as a parent of an 8 month old have never experienced this but as a nursery teacher and a godparent I have. I know you are a teacher but I think the emotion is different when the child is your own. I am sorry i have no words of wisdom but I send you strength, a virtual hug from a stranger who thinks your amazing for all you share that brings up topics sometimes people don’t want to face and ones that also bring so much joy. Stay strong and I am sure you and your young Man will work through this, it may take time and more angry actions but you will both get there x

  2. caroline godber says:

    Hi, Have you tried looking at the Relax Kids products. They are fab!. Hope it gets easier for you. Caroline x

  3. Roxie says:

    Amazing words! You are an inspiration. I wish you so much luck to find the answers you need and find that one thing that will help your lil one. Xxxx

  4. My son and his partner are going through the same at the moment with the middle child…billy is 5 and Ethan his brother who is 11 has Autism…My son met Christina and they eventuall have another child Ryley who is 22 months. billy has started his temper tantrums, screaming at you, telling you he hates you and everyone hates him etc…
    We are dealing with it…
    hope everything works out for you.

  5. mel says:

    i can totally understand, as both my boys have had anger issues, my eldest was dealt with at a very early age, we were living in east london and his play group was run by social services, as we were living in a “deprived” borough, and they had noticed his anger and behaviour towards me and the other children, so we were both placed into a parenting group, at the time i was devasted, being my first child i was doing everything i had read or been told. But it was amazing they came to the house and did a report, then everyweek, we went to his play group as he knew the building, and he went of into another room with other children that needed help and i went for parenting lessons, where they need routine, same bedtime etc, if you say no dont give in no matter how much they scream, we did this for 11 weeks, it was hard but it changed him. so when we had son number 2, although when he was 6 weeks old we moved to bedfordshire, we thought we would have a happy boy, which he was till school, and now we have another ball of anger and he is 10, we have issues in school, and he understands and you can reason with him, but he explodes, walks out of class, gets very angry and confrontational, he sees an anger management nurse at the school, and he now has a pass to excuse him from a lesson so he can go outside and calm down. At home he has a set time on the electrical games and set bedtime, which has improved his behaviour, but its a constant daily worry, I’ve changed hours at work so we can have more one to one time. I have of course implemented what i learnt with the eldest but it isnt working as well, i dont know if the age of implementation is a factor or that their anger issues are from different things. I have a battle within as sometimes i want to scream and shout back, which i know will make the situation 1000 times worse, so i hold it in and fester away. I am gonna look at the books that were recommended on your page and see if they help, as his education is being effected now so my time is limited, to help him before his whole life is effected by his anger.

  6. Ros Wood says:

    What a breath of fresh air to read your open and honest reflection. I have 3 boys and they are all very strong willed and sometimes very angry. It is so exhausting having to deal with it. I know people always say, “you’re not alone” but it’s nice to be reminded in such an honest and forthright way that I really am not alone in dealing with the issues of “accidental” parenting. Thank you!

  7. Natasha says:

    Firstly, you are an amazing mother with amazing children, never doubt that even when hurtful words hit your heart and penetrate your soul. I admire your determination to help him find a solution that works and your honesty re: how his outbursts effect you as well as him.
    Not sure if it helps but our next door neighbour left her partner and went to counselling as she was very angry. The counsellor told her to take it out on a pillow and to release all the pent up anger with yelling, so don’t put any of your ideas down, they might work, or at least work some of the time.
    I hope you both find the answers and send you lots of positive wishes. My daughter is almost 3 but she had explosive temper tantrums which I know shocked many of the observers in her vicinity when her emotions overflowed. I think they were as shocked by our reaction to her tantrum. It’s so hard to know what to do and to keep calm. She’s gradually coming out the other side of these but we never know what awaits us as parents.
    I don’t know what “accidental parenting” is but I truly believe you will find out through research and trial and error what works best for your son and for you.

  8. Rachel Kerridge says:

    This must be hard for you. Have you seen the small child pictorial anger scales? You can personalise them for each individual but they work on the idea that the child begins to recognise when they are becoming angry by the things that they do (body language etc). At each point on the anger scale they provide a strategy to deal with that emotion. Most of these scales are 0-5, 0 being completely relaxed and 5 being the most angry. For example, if the child is at number 3 and you help them to recognise that, the best thing for them to do at that point may be to go and play with a stress reliever away from other people or the upsetting situation. Obviously, this scale has to be highly personalised in order for it to work for the child.

  9. cara says:

    Emma, only a child who loves and is loved can say those words that wound so deeply at the time they are said… trust me when I say that a child who is not loved, or lives within a ‘difficult’ family would never risk saying those words for fear they may be said back to them. These times will pass. One day, he’ll grow to become a man capable of love, passion, integrity and strength.

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  11. Penny says:

    I only found this while distracting myself looking for bits for the house, but so glad I did. It sums my 4 year old (only) daughter up to a tee, but it is refreshing to hear someone actually say it. I felt every last bit, both for you, and me, while remembering. Thank you

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