Wednesday, August 24, 2011

the girl tries me

Seriously new territory. I need a book or something to tell me how to wade through this. Is it true that if the girl child is particularly difficult at age 5 she won't be so bad at 13? Can I only hope? It's like she's hormonal or something. Seriously. Here's what happens: she gets upset about something (like my telling her to please stop wrapping Clark's blankie around his head, though he's screamed "STOP IT SISSY!!" eight times already and shoved her away her twice) and she gets this look on her face. She just stands there, stony, and won't talk to me, won't move. Then she does something with the absolute intent of pissing me off. Yesterday she put both the phone and the oven timer in the trash, then she tossed my Kendle across the room. Ahem.

Conversely, Clark is the sweetest cutest three-year-old on which I have ever laid eyes. "Do you know," he asks at dinner, his eyes big with import, "that frogs are bigger than bugs? Do you know that?" Tonight I was off to the grocery while he ate his snack before bed and four times he said, "Mama, can I have just one more hug?" I put my arms around him and he lays all his weight into me, so warm and sweet.

It's true that Frances has just had a major adjustment. We are home (home boring home) after 7 weeks of travel and entertainment round the clock. She's always been more sensitive than Clark, less able to roll with it. It's like her skin is thinner, more exposed, tender. And everyone I tell about her behavior says, "Frances? She's so polite and sweet and easy to be around." For you, maybe. She saves up the other just for me.

Although it could very well be nothing more than boredom and adjustment, my inclination is that it's about control. After all, kids in general are on the receiving end of lots of directives. Time to go. Put on your shoes. Climb in the car. Buckle up. Eat this. Brush your teeth. Turn off the tv. No cheetos before 10am. Wash your hands. Don't chew the paper. Please take the tutu off the dog. One would indeed feel powerless. So she's figured out how to get a little power for herself. Oh, the myriad of responses I could have... I've been trying them all out. I am seriously at a loss about it. Traditional techniques are being met with sweeping failure and escalating behavior. Lovely.

Is it a stage? Just a stage that will pass like the others? It's always so hard to tell. About all I know for sure is that it's a pain in my ass and I feel like I'm missing some essential piece of information, like the 6-page instruction manual came without pages 3 and 4.

And there are other times when she's perfectly wonderful. Sweet and loving and fun to talk with and laugh with. I'll focus on those in my mind. 


andrea said...

Seriously, one of my theories is that when one child is horrid the other over compensates with kindness. Not every time, but it sure does seem like they trade places.

I can definitely relate to a confusion about childhood behavior... and irrational behavior. Unfortunately I think it is just part of the journey.

I hope you can drink beer or wine to ease the pain. When it is painful ;o)... And when it is beautiful, rejoice and absorb the joy, for you know if is what makes it ALL worth it.

I wish I could have coffee and hear about more about India and solve all the hardships of parenthood.

Amy said...

My mom will agree with this...I was just like Francis when I was her age...defiant, sassy and very independent! I often say I was the horrible devil child. I'm not sure when I turned the corner and became the sweet person I am today (hee, hee), but just know that moment is around the corner. You are a great mom and she will soon appreciate all you do for her! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, you just may not be able to see it quite yet:) Love you and miss you tons!