Praying the birthday fairies will cast a special spell

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A detail from Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”… “Like nails down a blackboard, every time a screaming fit happens I go into a dark place.”

“She’s already there in so many ways… except for the screaming. Boss baby chose this method of communication a long time ago and, sadly, it just hasn’t quit our lives,” bemoans “Mummy” columnist KATE MEIKLE. 

“MUMMY, will I stop screaming when I am five?” asks the boss baby. 

Kate Meikle.

“I sure hope so, darling,” I calmly replied. 

“Would you like to stop?” I ask. 

She sighs and replies, “Yes I think so…” 

This was my conversation with my almost five-year-old daughter, the “boss baby” of our family. 

If only wishes could come true when it comes to our little screamer. Do not be fooled by her blue eyes and blonde curls. Her angelic little face is mostly observed by us in deep concentration, determination or pre-scream, mid-scream or post-scream. That’s just how she is, this greatly loved, powerful little girl who has always wanted to be in control ever since she was a baby. 

Only when she falls into a deep sleep every night does her darling little face relax and the little angel appears once more. 

She packs a punch, this amazing, busy kid of ours and she has long had us all under her thumb. Her sharp mind and excellent memory means she has an answer for simply everything. I have no doubt that boss baby is an amazing little person and will turn out more than okay in the end, but I can’t help but feel my feisty daughter was sent to test and challenge me every step of the way as a mother.  

There has been much talk about her turning five for some time in our house. Throughout the year she has cleverly used her age to suit her argument at the time. For instance someone might say: “Wow you are a tall girl”, to which she would reply sweetly: “I am only four”. 

Other times she will strike up conversation with a fellow playground player and announce that she was aged five so that she could contrive to be the oldest of the children there. Pure porkies! 

I can see how hard it is for her to be the second born. As a competitive soul she is constantly nipping at her big brother’s heels. 

“Run your own race,” I tell her. 

“It doesn’t matter who gets out of the car first,” I remind. 

“Slow down!” I shout as she fearlessly hops on her bike and pedals as fast as her legs can take her on her first ride without training wheels. 

I was invited to watch her last ballet class for the term. She danced beautifully in her fluffy, pink tutu. It was clear she was enjoying herself and had mastered some moves. When I asked her afterwards if she’d like to do ballet again next term she said: “No thanks Mummy. I know everything about ballet now.” And that was that!

Somehow she is almost five. Five feels like a big one to me. She’ll be off to school next year, she’ll be tying shoelaces, learning to read (if she hasn’t worked it out already) and she will become a big little kid. 

She’s already there in so many ways… except for the screaming. Boss baby chose this method of communication a long time ago and, sadly, it just hasn’t quit our lives. 

We’ve tried deep breathing, sticker charts and all sorts of bribes but this scream of hers comes from deep within. It’s also used in happiness as well as anger but there’s nothing more triggering to my ears and nervous system than the sound of her scream. 

Like nails down a blackboard, every time a screaming fit happens I go into a dark place. I’ve been told that adults have their own triggering things when it comes to raising kids, moments in which they hear “shark music” playing in their heads. Like the soundtrack to “Jaws”, it’s the iconic “Du Nuh, Du Nuh, Du Nuh” that starts creating panic and tension in the parent. No one enjoys hearing their child scream but for me it sends me into shark-infested waters. 

Like when some small children grow out of their dummies and the time comes when their parents help them “send” their dummies away to the fairies or “other” babies (or throw them out of the moving car into a tree as one of my friends famously did!) it’s time for the boss to give up the scream. 

Perhaps the birthday fairies will cast a special spell, or just maybe she will look into my tortured eyes when the shark music is playing so loudly in my head, and decide to finally keep calm and carry on now she is (almost!) five.  

As my favourite song lyrics go in “A Little Ray of Sunshine”, a song that seems to turn me to “mummy mush” every time I hear it:  

She can make you feel good.

She can make you feel like it’s all worthwhile. 

Only by her smile. 

Only by her smile.

Happy birthday, boss.

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Kate Meikle
Kate Meikle is a staff reporter for "CityNews"

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