At least that's what my three children call me sometimes. I got called mean about a dozen times yesterday - Mother's Day - so it's a good thing that my own mother delights in reminding my children that "a mean mother is a good mother"!
I'm currently reading a parenting book called Tricky Kids by Andrew Fuller, which has lots of very sensible advice about bringing up strong-willed kids ... and I managed to bring three of those into the world. Fuller relates various stories about how parents counteract the behaviour of their tricky kids, including one mother who decided to count how many times her children called 'mean' over the course of one day. Apparently she got to 87, which means she either has a lot more kids than me, or I am not nearly mean enough.
Although I'm sure that The Little Guy thought completely the opposite this morning. He is currently in intensive training for the whining olympics, and his favourite time for advanced complaining is usually early in the morning, chosen because it takes a while until my first coffee of the day kicks in.
Today, the source of complaint was various. At home it was a triple treat of four-year old despair over:
a) mean Mum won't let me be on the computer instead of eating breakfast
b) mean Mum won't let me put more honey on my Weet-Bix, and
c) mean Mum is insisting that I get dressed.
(I might add that while all of this was going on, Miss Mucks was in tears because I wouldn't let her take her unwell guinea pig to school for show and tell. Told you I was mean. Luckily she got over it pretty quickly.)
On the way to school to drop off the older two kids, The Little Guy gave his lungs another excellent workout when I said that there wouldn't be any time for him to play in the school playground. The noise was deafening, so I counteracted by playing U2 at very loud 'doof doof' levels to drown out his screaming. The young woman in the next car looked at us in horror, and tried to remember whether she had taken her contraceptive pill this morning.
But playing Bono and co so loudly actually worked! The Little Guy was so shocked, he stopped immediately. Number One Son found it most amusing, and I must say it made me feel better, although I suspect that this trick won't work again.
By the time I left The Little Guy at the kindergarten gate he was happiness itself. That's the great thing about four year old kids - they tend not to stay in their whingey mood all day (ha!! - if only!).
And I'm delighted to report that my second coffee of the day was enjoyed in blissful peace.