"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Expressing Love

The past few day have been rough. Princess seems to be in a place where she believes she should have the same privileges as everyone else in the family without having to do a single positive thing to contribute. At this point, she is required to do exactly four things:

1. Treat others with respect.
2. Clean up after herself without excessive complaining
3. Laundry (cause, ya know, hers is used as a toilet)
4. Five minutes worth of homework

She will do none of it. None. She mostly ignores me unless she wants something. Or if I act like a parent. If I try to require some kind of contribution from her, her head spins off her neck and hits the ceiling. The only communication we've had for the last three days is her asking for things or her calling me names and telling me she hates me.

I know this child loves me. I know I'm very important to her. I know she would completely freak if I wasn't here. But being called stupid, ugly, and unlovable all the time takes it's toll, even when you know it's not true.

By last night, I had pretty much reached my limit. She was doing the same stuff, but she also threw in a discussion with Josh about how it doesn't matter that she lies all the time about everything because her sisters lie once in a while, too, and anyway, she is not the biggest lier in the whole world. So it's all ok, apparently. And then, when she wanted a treat later, knowing full well that treats are not distributed to tantrum-throwers (being that they don't need the extra sugar, which makes self-control more difficult, so goes the explanation), she claimed vehemently that she had not thrown a huge hairy tantrum that involved screaming and kicking things in her room for an hour when I told her she did not get to decide whether or not she had to help pick up the living-room-filling fort that she and her sisters had built. So, in a not-so-therepuetic-moment, I told her to go find someone she hadn't said "I hate you" to, and ask THEM for a treat. Cause, really, I'm not so sure I'm expected to provide candy to people who say they hate me.

So, that didn't go over well, and unfortunately we had a commitment at church so some members of our small group got treated to some animal-level Princess screaming in the parking lot. But, I insisted she be snuggled on my lap the whole time we were there, and the rest of the evening went ok. But I was really, really emotionally sore.

This morning the Cuddle Bear climbed in bed with me to snuggle for awhile and play with a ladybug she found on the window sill. At one point she hugged me around my neck and sighed, "I love you, Mommy." Then she looked like she was thinking, and a moment later she said, "but Princess doesn't love you. She yells at you and calls you stupid." Great.

Later I sat down with my coffee, and Princess walked in and said, "Mom, can I give you a hug?" A little shell-shocked, I said, "well, of course! I love hugs. They make me feel good." And she hugged me. I found Josh and asked him if he told Princess to do it. He said, "do what?" I told him, and his eyes teared up. He said, "no. I told her what the Cuddle Bear said."

So that's a pretty big deal, because she made the connection to her own behavior and what it looks like to others herself. Empathy is not typically one of her strong points. I don't really expect today to be a whole lot better, but now I have have evidence of hope. It's in there, somewhere.


  1. Someone shared with me, a long time ago before kids, that when someone calls you names it's really a reflection of how they feel about themselves. It made sense and made me feel better so I'm sharing with you. :)

    Sending hugs!