The story of the sprinkle shorts

In a rage* one afternoon last week, I threw my four-year-old’s teddy out the window of our two-storey home.

That’s right, her beloved ‘raggie’ went bye-byes. One … two … three … out the window. Boom!

As I flung Teddy out the window into the crisp night air to fall to his death the damp grass below, I felt a rush of adrenalin – a release of pent-up frustration – before shit got very real.

What led me to throw my sweet, gorgeous, love of my life daughter’s teddy out the window?

Grab a cuppa and let me tell you a story about sprinkle shorts. A story about sprinkle shorts and a mother, who was pushed too far.

The story of the sprinkle shorts

Miss Four has a pair of shorts, which she affectionately calls her sprinkle shorts. They have a sprinkling of confetti and ‘love hearts’ all over them. They sound so gosh darn fun, don’t they? They would be, if she didn’t insist on wearing them every single day of her life.

It all started Monday two weeks ago when she asked to wear her sprinkle shorts to kindy. I queried whether she should wear leggings because it’s getting cooler. She assured me she would be fine running around and getting hot at kindy. Her argument sounded reasonable to me, so off she skipped in her sprinkle shorts. I like to call this Day One of the Six-Day Sprinkle Short Siege.

Tuesday rolled around and Miss Four asked to wear her sprinkle shorts again. I told her they were in the washing basket and she’d have to choose something else. This was when she promptly gave me ‘the face’. You know the one – the adorable puppy dog eyes, eyelashes fluttering and the bottom lip out. It was all it took to melt my frosty heart. I reached into the washing basket, gave them a once over and decided it would totally be okay if she wore them two days in a row.

Before you know it, we’ve hit hump day and we’re all starting to get a little weary. We were running late this particular morning and I was rushing to get the kids dressed. When Miss Four tried to pull one over on me about the sprinkle shorts, I gave her a firm no. Cue tears and throwing herself on the ground and Mummy’s blood pressure rising. I reached into the washing basket and gave Miss Four her stinking pair of shorts. I think I said something mature along the lines of, ‘Wear them. See if I care’.

I think you can guess where this story is going. Miss Four wore her sprinkle shorts six days in a row. I tried everything – cajoling, offering a reward, punishment etc. Nothing worked. Miss Four is a very strong-willed lass and for some reason that week she had decided to break me down.

I couldn’t believe it when Miss Four arrived home on day seven from a sleepover at my parent’s house wearing a skirt. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked my mum for breaking the cycle. How naïve I was.

Moving into day eight, Miss Four begged to wear her sprinkle shorts again. I told her she could wear them one more time.

‘You have a cupboard full of beautiful clothes,’ I said.

‘You can’t wear your $4 pair of Kmart sprinkle shorts every single day.’

Day nine she tried it on me again. This day, I refused to give in. I would remain calm and would not allow her to wear her sprinkle shorts.

I grabbed her pineapple shorts and calmly advised her she would be wearing them.  Cue whinging, whining and general ‘drive me craziness’. I put her pineapple shorts on, she took her pineapple shorts off, I put the pineapple shorts on, she took her pineapple shorts off. We did this three times until I bundled her up like a baby and rubbed her on the back while she sobbed. I quickly carried her into the car, buckled her up and prayed that she’d allow me drop her off to kindy without too much fuss. She was a little quiet, but okay. I, on the other hand, cried all of the way to work.

Are you wondering why I let these shorts get to me so much? It’s just a pair of shorts, right? For me, this was more than the sprinkle shorts. I was attempting to make a point and put an end to constant negotiations about anything and everything. I needed to break the cycle and take back the hand.

On the week continued, and on the battles raged. Absolutely nothing was working and her behaviour was deteriorating. I asked the girls to hop in the bath one evening last week (Please note this is nearing the end of week two of hostile negotiations regarding the sprinkle shorts) and Miss Four refused. I counted. She didn’t move. I threatened confiscation of her toys. She didn’t move. I threatened a time out. She didn’t move.

And that is when it happened. I told her that if she didn’t hop in the bath on the count of three Teddy was going out the window.

She didn’t move, so out the window he went. Poor Teddy – an innocent victim.

Much screaming and crying ensued from both kids, but I can tell you what, she hopped in the bath quick smart. Once she was done we rescued Teddy from outside.

Her behaviour the next day was a noticeable improvement. I don’t think we’re past the sprinkle short issue, but I think Miss Four and I are beginning to understand each other a little more now.

I ummed and ahhed about sharing this story with you because the last thing I want is to tarnish Miss Four’s reputation. Please know that she is one of the most adorable, funny, kind, caring, clever and adventurous kids you ever will meet.

I wanted to let other parents in a battle of wills with their kids know that they’re not alone. We all go through tough periods and what works for one doesn’t work for another. We’re all muddling through parenthood and trying our best to raise decent human beings.

If you ever need to throw your child’s toy out the window, I’ve got your back 😉

Linking up today with Kylie Purtell for IBOT.

*Not rage as in the Oxford Dictionary definition, simply a mum pushed to her limit.

18 comments on The story of the sprinkle shorts

  1. Cat @ life through the haze
    June 5, 2017 at 9:06 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh Renee
    You sound like you have a me for a daughter! I am not sure if my parents ever threw a toy out the window but I am not sure how my mum restrained herself.


  2. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    June 6, 2017 at 6:47 am (2 years ago)

    I think everyone has their own version of “sprinkle shorts” in their life. Something that you just hold onto long after it should have been tossed …

  3. Amy @ Handbagmafia
    June 6, 2017 at 6:56 am (2 years ago)

    Just last week I got a garbage bag out and threatened to round up all the duplo on my floor- at my wit’s end. It worked. I didn’t feel great about it but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!

  4. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    June 6, 2017 at 7:22 am (2 years ago)

    I remember sprinkle shorts style stand offs when I was teaching. It’s a little more intense when there are another 29 pair of eyes watching to see how it will all pan out. I wish I could have thrown some teddies out the window! Hang in there!

  5. Linda
    June 6, 2017 at 8:37 am (2 years ago)

    I totally hear you on this. We still tease K about the time she wouldn’t have a nap so she couldn’t go to a sleep over birthday party. She had been warned about no nap , no party. Margaret called me at about 4pm to say she hadn’t napped. I spoke to her and explained – again – no nap, no party. We got home from work at about 5pm and still no nap. Again said, no nap, no party (she had to be there at 6.30) – at 6.15, she came out all dressed and ready to go and we were “Sorry – no nap, no party BUT we will have to take Candice her present” so we all got in the car, drove around and made her take the present in and explain that because she didn’t have a nap, she wouldn’t be able to stay for the party. Candice’s Mom said to just let her stay but we said we couldn’t – we had told her no nap, no party and if we let her stay she would never learn that there are consequences for not listening to us. We drove away from there – she was crying, I was sobbing and A was crying to – it was one of the hardest things we ever had to do BUT in the future when we asked her to do something and she didn’t we would just say “Remember Candice’s party” and it would get done because she knew that we meant what we said and would follow through. I think children like to know their boundaries and when enough is enough. Good luck – there will be future ‘incidents’ but you’ll all survive them and she will grow into a better person once she realises that when you say something you mean it.

  6. Nicole @ The Builder's Wife
    June 6, 2017 at 8:52 am (2 years ago)

    As a parent of teenagers I am still throwing teddies out the window. It’s about the only time they remember the R word, you know respect. It’s tough as parents to stand our ground, but our children are better for it. Well done Renee xxx

  7. Natalie McNamara
    June 6, 2017 at 10:33 am (2 years ago)

    I love it. I remember once one of the children (who will remain nameless) was sooking because his burger wouldn’t stay together. He had broken me down all day and was now just being painful. I fixed the burger 3 times until finally, I punched the burger (so I squashed it really hard) and then threw it all over the ground. Umm not sure what end result I wanted.

  8. Simone
    June 6, 2017 at 11:22 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you darling for making me giggle and making me feel way more normal about cracking the shit after a 30-minute long rage-ful (in the dictionary sense!) naked tantrum about nothing from Mr 20 months.

  9. Vanessa
    June 6, 2017 at 11:29 am (2 years ago)

    It must be so hard when they both do and don’t understand consequences yet!

  10. hugzilla
    June 6, 2017 at 2:10 pm (2 years ago)


  11. Jody at Six Little Hearts
    June 6, 2017 at 3:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Bahaha! Just wait for the battles when they’re OLDER! They REALLY suck!
    I would trade sprinkle shorts with you any day as I struggle to parent my defiant brood of 6.

  12. Denyse Whelan Blogs
    June 6, 2017 at 3:54 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh I so hear you and understand…because in every single family there is ONE kid at least with one outfit obsession. I think your standoff was pragmatic but I think your eventual method of dealing was the best. Finally, ‘the night of the Teddy’ can become not only part of the family folklore but a very reasonable memory for Mummy to invoke in future. Very proud parenting moment! Denyse xx

  13. Amy Haverkort
    June 6, 2017 at 4:13 pm (2 years ago)

    Ohhh poor Teddy haha ‘The innocent victim”. At least you made your point 🙂

  14. Robyna May
    June 6, 2017 at 8:19 pm (2 years ago)

    All the battles! We have many meeting of wills in our house and its always a matter of picking the right wars to fight.

  15. Sanchie @ Living my Imperfect Life
    June 6, 2017 at 10:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Parenting is tough but I’m sure once you’ve kept your word re the consequence, Miss Four will take you seriously. Kids do like to push boundaries not because they are bad or naughty but just to see how much they can get away with. Let’s face, we all do that as adults too!

  16. Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum
    June 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm (2 years ago)

    Ah, I think we all have our own version of a ‘sprinkle shorts story’ that we can tell … actually I may have several 🙂 I think you handled yourself very well, because we all have to choose our battles when it comes to parenting.


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