Just in case there are people reading this who don't know what I'm talking about (saints!), I'll explain. Saving the Rage is when your child does something that warrants a good telling off but you're in public (library, doctor's surgery, train) and you don't want to draw attention. So they get away with it (or at least receive a reduced scale telling off). Until they are home when you can really 'go to town'.
I inflicted said bad parenting on Little P recently. As I've mentioned in a previous post, I really enjoy the weekly shop with my girls so I was furious when Little P's behaviour ruined it for me. To give a bit of background, a few days earlier she had bitten Little N on the arm. Not to sound like one of those 'my child can do no wrong' mothers but this really was out of character for her. They had been playing nicely and the next thing I knew, Little N was distraught. I asked Little P what had happened and she immediately told me she had bitten her and apologised profusely to both of us. Poor Little N was left with a mark on her arm and I was devastated. It certainly took longer for me to forgive Little P than it took her sister. I really lost it and told her biting was one of the worst things you could do and how sad I thought it was that she wanted to hurt her little sister with whom she had been playing so nicely (I was a bit dramatic).
After Daddy came home (and I made her tell him what she had done!) she seemed sufficiently remorseful so I tried my best to let it go. Upon reflection, and with a bit of objectivity from Daddy, we decided she had probably been testing her boundaries and was just curious to see what would happen. I thought that after the telling off she received she would never do it again.
Skip forward a week and you'd find us at Tesco doing our shop. I was having a nosey of the yoghurt selection when a shriek emerged from Little N followed by big, fat tears rolling down her face to heartbreaking wails. Once again, I hadn't a clue what had happened. I asked Little P if she'd seen her bump her head on the bar. 'I bit her. Sorry, Mummy'. And sure enough, poor Little N's index finger had been chomped. I grabbed her out of the trolley (that they were sharing) and she was completely inconsolable.
I muttered a harsh few words to Little P under the deafening screams coming from her sister. Cue every man and his dog coming over to see what was wrong. There was literally a queue of old ladies (all concerned she was fed up with shopping/was hungry/was tired) to whom I had to explain what had actually happened. By this point, Little P had completely lost it and was also howling from her seat in the trolley. I wasn't angry with the spectators, I actually thought it quite nice that they were all so worried(/nosy). I was just getting more cross with Little P. Not only that she had bitten AGAIN, but my previous preaching must have fallen on deaf ears. After an assistant from the cheese counter had been over to see if there was anything she could do, the crowds finally started to clear.
In all the fuss, Little P had received a fair bit of moral support from the old dears in such comments as 'you didn't mean it, did you?' and 'aw, you won't do that again, will you?'. Feeling like I didn't want more attention and that it would be a hindrance to me to set them off again, I chose to store my rage for later. So I tried to carry on with my shop; although Little N refused to go back in the trolley (would you get back into a cage with an animal that had already bitten you?). It transpired that Little P had taken comfort in the words of her supporters and was feeling better. She even risked asking if she could still have her treat. The nerve! (apparently one of the ladies had told her she was 'sure she could'.
The car journey home was quiet. The littles were just chilling but I was brewing. Poor Little P must have forgotten the whole thing by the time we got in and was so confused when I suddenly let rip at her. This is not effective parenting, people. They have no clue what's going on by this point, you (the parent) have had too much time to think about it - they are not an adult (Daddy, mostly) whom you are trying to outsmart in an argument.
I wasn't teaching her anything, I was just being mean. Mean because I felt Little N (who had most likely forgotten the whole thing) needed some justice. It wasn't the first time I'd saved the rage and sadly, I doubt it'll be the last...
In good news, this was over a month ago and she hasn't bitten since!