Wednesday, May 31, 2006

2006, 05/31 - Us So Far

2006, 05/31 - Blathering

1) Don't even bother trying to Google "preschooler tantrums" or "preschooler whining". Just don't. Because this is what you get:

A. "The other night, Bunny was being rambunctious, throwing things around her bedroom while I was trying to get the girls ready for bed. I warned her that if she kept it up she would not be allowed to bake cookies with me once my toddler was asleep. She then picked up a tube of diaper cream, and when I asked her for it, she threw it at me (so tired of the throwing!). It hit my toddler in the face making her hysterical. I sent Bunny to her room, told her she wasn't baking cookies, and that was that. When I went to check on her 10 minutes later, she was asleep." Oh, she fell asleep! Great! That solves everything! "Hey, Munchkin! Stop whining! Go to sleep! Need help? Here's some vodka!"


B. "[Another morning,] as my husband walked out the door to go to work, he bent over to give the girls kisses good-bye and Bunny turned her cheek and ran away in a huff. He said, "Papa's leaving. Can I have a kiss?" She replied, "No!" So he walked out the door. Well, of course, that set her off. "Waaaaah! I wanted to kiss, Papa!" I explained to her that Papa didn't want to be late for the bus, and that she had two chances to give him a kiss. We talked about why she was being so grouchy (she couldn't find her other shoe), and that if she needed something to "use her words." Next time, you bet she will give him that kiss." "You bet"? "You BET"? Just like that? "YOU BET"?

and this from Dr Benjamin Spock:

C. "Many children whine at only one parent, not both, although some are equal-opportunity whiners. In this case, whining often expresses not simply a habit or a mood in a child but also an attitude toward, or a slightly disturbed relationship with, that parent." "Disturbed relationship"? Between ME and MY MUNCHKIN?! You go to HELL! You GO to hell and you DIE, DR SPOCK!

1b. I already know whining is usually related to hunger or tiredness. We have practiced the "Avoidance Of Fun Things For Mommy To Do Because It Is The End Of The Day And Munchkin Is Tired And Won't Be Any Fun But If We Just Go Straight Home And Eat And Go To Sleep Everything Will Be Fine Although Boring" technique for years. As recommended by my still-beloved-though-a-little-less-so-than-last-week Dr Sears. This technique is starting to suck, because, hello, I have decided I would like to have a life now? Munchkin is five years old? I am not getting any younger? I am single? I need to get out of the house and make friends now? Okay, so example "A" above does not impress me. Tired children have tantrums. I know. Hungry children have tantrums. I know. (This is why the back seat of my beloved car is covered in crumbs. "Eat Cheerios and be happy, Child!") Example A, you are nothing to me. Thanks.

1c. Now, example "B": The whole "You created this situation when you..." and "Why do you think this happened..." and "How do you feel when blah blah blah..." does not work with Munchkin. I'm sorry. It doesn't. I laughed my ass off reading example "B". Munchkin is stubborn. She'd decide never to kiss Papa again. This is the girl who starves herself if you put the wrong plate of food in front of her. This is the girl who turned around, laughed, and claimed, "That didn't hurt!" when I once made an attempt at spanking. This is the girl who went all day long without using the restroom at her new school because she did not want to talk to the teacher to find out if she needed to ask permission to go--and continued holding it all day long for several days, until we asked for her. This is the girl whose halo is really, truly, held up by horns. She is going to rule the world someday. But first she is cutting her teeth on breaking me.

1d. And, Dr Spock, that was just mean.

1e. But I know I created this situation myself. Munchkin is a strong personality, but she is also my first child and therefore my experiment and I don't really have a mother and I don't actually know what the hell I'm doing and I know this is just a phase brought on by the finalization of the divorce and my dating and whatnot but still oh my god I just don't know what I'm doing and this is crazy and I should have done SO MANY THINGS differently with her and now I have to start being more firm with her to undo some things I unconsciously taught her she could get away with but this isn't even fair because it's all MY fault; children don't raise themselves and why did I think that just because she is a genius she would figure out socialization and respect all by herself...

2. She hates that I am dating. She hated when I was married to her own father and he and I would even dare try to hug each other. I dropped everything of myself for her. I did not want to be a selfish child-hater like my mother. I went overboard. I let the marriage suffer (although not me alone, by any stretch). I never went out. I never did anything except take care of her, and read, and play on the computer, and cook. This was wrong. I would not do this with a second child.

2b. But Munchkin caught me so off-guard! I love her so much! I want her to have everything! I want things to happen for her! ...But I didn't have to give up my Self for her. Shit, and now I want my Self back, and she thinks my Self belongs to her... Maybe I can sneeeak my Self out of her death-grip while she's sleeping one night...

3. But! Guess what! Whiny phase is normal! Spoiled children in this town are normal! Parents making mistakes is normal! I! AM! NOT! THE! ONLY! ONE!

4. Munchkin is an AWESOME kid. Honestly. She is SO GOOD at school. She is SO SMART. She is SO BEAUTIFUL.

5. But I think she's really pissed-off at me. She doesn't understand why I don't still love her daddy. She is afraid I will love my new beau more than her, though I've told her a hundred times that she will always be my Number One Girl. I love her to pieces.

5b. I wish I could find the right thing to say. We've been having so many Talks, and I just don't know if I'm getting through to her yet. Sigh...

5c. GAWD, I'm such a PANSY! My daughter's not even AFRAID of me!

Well, whatever. Look how big she is!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

2006, 05/24 - Relationships

I am reading several books currently:

The last book I finished was Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho. It was "okay"; the ending was much too short.

Previous to that, I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Loved it.

So, what's new with me?

  • I am officially divorced.
  • I am in an amazing relationship with a Brazilian musician. But it's too amazing. Can't possibly last.
  • I cut my own hair on a whim last week, and it actually looks really good.
  • My daughter hates me.

Munchkin! Is! Crying! And! Whining! All the time!

And she says I'm MEAN! And that she HATES me!

And she LIES!!!!!

And she told me she got in trouble at school this week! More than once! And she hit someone yesterday! But her teachers haven't said anything about it! And she's NEVER gotten in trouble at school before!

Suddenly I feel like I am in over my head.

Munchkin is frustrated and acting-out. We are going through a Very Difficult Phase. I am frustrated and acting-out myself. I am trying to be More Energetic. I am trying to be More Consistent. I am trying to be More Attentive. But, F*CK! She's still crying over every little thing! I SUCK!!!

But I've talked to my mommy-friends. I am not alone in dealing with whining, hitting, hating, and crying. So, a little relief there. But, GAWD, I want my sweet, cuddly, HAPPY girl back!

Before Munchkin was born, I read The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by Dr Sears--COVER-TO-COVER. (Also The Complete Book of Breastfeeding by Marvin S. Eiger & Sally Wendkos Olds, but that's not what we're talking about today, although, by the way, YES, I totally recommend this book!) I LOVE The Baby Book, and I feel so secure in my parenting when I read it, because I did everything it said, and I did it well, and I had a PERFECT BABY and a PERFECT TODDLER. But that was when it was just me and Munchkin. Now we have Outside Influences, like peers and teachers and her own father...


In Dr Sears' The Successful Child, he states ten or so characteristics of a "successful" child. Top on the list was an ability to develop and maintain successful relationships.

I read what he had to say about this, and I looked up at the sky and sighed. Fuck. That's the part I skipped. I was more concerned with making sure she knew about Good Touch and Bad Touch and Remember You Don't Have To Hug Anyone If You Don't Want To Not Even Your Grandparents Who Just Bought You Everything You Even Glanced Near At The PX. I was more concerned with being There For Her than EVER getting out and developing a life of my own after we moved out of Texas. She's seen me with friends or family only a handful of times. She saw me in an unhappy marriage where there was very little affection. She saw me with my inlaws whom I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. She's seen me with my bosses with whom I try to maintain a distanced, professional relationship.

Munchkin and I are warm with each other. We share LOTS of hugs and cuddles. But I have not taught her to share her warmth with others. I have not shown her how I share warmth with others, because I haven't been sharing warmth with others.

I was taught the importance of Being Independent and Doing The Right Thing. I was either never taught or never really picked up on the lessons of Loving, Trusting, or Having Fun. I thought people were expendable.

I am learning some things about relationships and life and the world. And I am reading things that reinforce the truth of these new ideas. And I am having to look at changing some things about myself for happiness and growth. And I am having to teach Munchkin these things about relationships at the same time that I am learning them.

How fucking lucky is Munchkin that she will be learning these things at age five instead of twenty-five? How fucking jealous am I of my own daughter for having someone like ME as a mother? HEY, MUNCHKIN! I'LL TRADE YOU!

I started off the day feeling like a shitty mother. But it's going to get better. And it's going to be awesome. And we're going to be great. And we're going to be happy and healthy and make differences in the world.

Back to reading.