Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

I have a six year old daughter. When she was born, she was like my own little bundle of perfect and sunshine. Being her mother was so much better than any single thing I could imagine. I nearly choked on the rush of love and emotion I experienced every time I held her, rocked her, nursed her. Those enormous blueberry eyes of hers and that flaxen hair ... just the most beautiful baby I had ever laid eyes on. I stayed home with her for an entire year ... took every last hour I could squeeze. Going back to work was agony. I had an hour plus commute both ways and I can remember crying all the way to work every morning for a month. I thought it was going to kill me - I really did. We immediately started trying to get pregnant so I could be home with her once again.

Now for anyone who doesn't know me - I am not a stay at home type of person. I need to work at something other than raising children ... I simply do not have the enduring patience that is required to be with my kids (any kids) all the time. So this concept was very odd for me.

Fast forward 5 years. Daughter #1 is now 6&1/2 and daughter #2 is 4. D#1 has a 'tude' the size of the Atlantic ocean. She has just completed her first year of school ... and it is official in her mind: Her father and I are clueless. Here we have a child that has it in her head that she rules this roost. It is her way or the highway. Much of this is our fault. We have spoiled both of them. Mr.Dragonfly especially is becoming synonymous with empty threats ... that is parenting suicide, in my opinion. So ... this leaves mama to be the heavy. I hate playing bad cop all of the time...

We were being seated to our evening meal Saturday past and my lovely had been having a bit of a challenging afternoon. She had just managed to untangle her twisted self from some other major injustice ... like her sister said something that she thought (though had not spoken as yet) of first and somehow this became the worst day EVER (I know what you are thinking, everyone does ... what did you expect when you opted to procreate ... you are the Queen of Drama Island) ... so as she rounded the corner and spied the noodley-goop that I had served up for dinner ... well, to say she lost it would be a slight understatement. I sent her up to her room because we simply could not calm her down ... well ... let me just say - I have seen my kid 'wig' before, but this display was a new level for her. She stomped up the stairs and started screaming at the top of her little lungs ... which let me just say are obviously very healthy. My mother is sitting across the table from me ... giving me "the face". Finally, she can stand it no longer and says "SOMEBODY needs to go up there and comfort her ... she's never going to calm herself down". To which I replied "she'll wear herself out at some point - ignore her". I continued getting "the face" and I told her that if she didn't like my parenting tactics, that she was welcome to 'go to her room, too'. (There - might as well alienate everyone) It was at this point that my sweet first born opted to take her protest to the top of the stairs, where she proceeded to start banging on the walls and slamming a couple of doors. We did not react. Then she started to screech again ... I put my hand on my husband's arm as he was getting up and said "wait". He said he wasn't going to yell, just ask her to please take her screaming back to her own room as the rest of us were trying to eat our dinner. .. and he did. In a perfectly calm voice and manner. I'm gonna say that was what finally hit the home run with her. Her approach failed - we were not giving in. It wasn't long after that she settled herself down enough to join us at the table ... and low and behold - she wound up eating most of her dinner. It was a horrible meal for the rest of us, but I think she may have learned something ... I think we all did.

This parenting shit is hard friggen work. You need to have nerves of steel, a degree in psychology and a steady supply of alcohol (for your own sanity)... and that is just to keep from giving them away or hurting them. How did my precious little cherub turn into such a brat? It breaks my heart - and I know we did it to her. Now I have the little Miss coming up behind her, learning from the master. She's the more devious of the two. She has this way of working most situations to her favor without all the ruckus. Should be a real treat to see how these two are as teens ...

I'm scared ... really, really scared.

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