"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, April 5, 2010

SB Day Four- The Day the Mom Checked Out

To be thoroughly accurate, this all started to go down the latter half of Day Three. I had spent the vast majority of the day being available to help Princess work through her weaving loom project. A new medication wears off around 4:00, and I still haven't quite successfully managed this transition; I should have stopped the weaving loom project by 3:00. Four hours is too long to work on ANYTHING, anyway. So, around this time, her brain started to check out on her. I was trying to help her figure out what to do by having her read the direction to me and tell me what they meant. She began insisting on starting in the middle of the sentence, read one three-word phrase, and attempt to infer what to do next from that one phrase. Obviously, it was not working. When I asked her to show me the capital letter that would signify the beginning of the sentence and she pointed to a lower-case "b" in the middle, I decided to call it quits, even though I knew it would be too late. It was.

After she ripped up her directions and threw the project material all over the living room, I sent her to do 50 jumps on the trampoline followed by five minutes of strong-sitting. This activity usually does the trick to regulate her, but she would. not. do it. Nor would she do the activity one is required to do if one refuses to do the assigned activity (hang out in the laundry room and scream all you like). When it became painfully clear that she had no intention to jump and strong sit, EVER, I sent her to her room for a 45 minute rest, in the hopes that she would be strong enough to obey after.

No go.
Mean, mean, mean, mean, MEAN!

After two hours, she had finally taken the required 45 minutes of quiet. She came downstairs and asked if she could go outside.

Now, I cannot claim this next part falls within the lines of "therapeutic parenting." Unfortunately, I am not a machine. I am thinking, actually, that a machine would do a much better job. I may look into that.

I said, "I think you should find someone you HAVEN'T been mean to, and ask THEM for stuff."

Yeah, not that great, huh? And she said (in a very chipper voice, I might add):

"Oh! Well, I haven't been mean to Daddy! I can go ask him to give me stuff."

Yes. Yes, she did. I did not take it well. I did control my temper, but I also told her to leave the room. Enter tantrum #2.

When Josh came in from the barn, he took one look at me, stopped mid-sentence, and said, "what? What did she do." I told him I did not intend on being in the same room with her again that day, and he could decide which one of us he wanted to eat dinner with. So that turned out to be the end of Princess's day.

I was still unusually upset in the morning. I told her how I felt. I highly doubt it meant anything to her, but I had to tell her for me. I added that today she would not be asking me for anything. That would free up her time to think about what OTHER people might want from HER. We pretty much steered clear of each other the entire morning. I did not tell her to do ANYTHING. I flat out told her that I was off-duty and I wasn't going to insist she do anything but speak to the family respectfully. She still has not combed her hair. She still has not brushed her teeth. She still is not wearing her glasses. She has not picked up one single thing. She has not used the bathroom.

Anytime one of the other children did something family-like (picking up without being asked, hugging, bringing me flowers), I pointed out to no one in particular how good it feels when someone does something just because they know it will make you feel good. When the Cuddle Bear asked me to read one of her favorite books ("AHHHH! Spider!), I made sure to point out (again, to no one in particular) how the spider was trying to do things the family liked because she wanted to be a part of the family.

Then it happened. She asked for something. She asked to go outside, and I said, "today you're not asking me for stuff. Today you're doing stuff for me. You can rub my feet." She sat down and rubbed my feet (three minutes on the timer). A few minutes later I told her she could play outside. She asked me to get her bubbles down. Boom. "Today you're doing stuff for me. Here are my feet!" She started to whine. Then she stopped. Then she started to "rub" (I use the term loosely) my feet. With an extremely crabby look on her face.

Then her face relaxed. She started to talk to me. Just talk. She made eye contact. She talked about my feet. She smiled at me. I mentioned how good we both feel when she does something nice for me. The timer beeped. She went outside.

A minute later she came in. With a bouquet of daffodils. For me.

(So. That would have been a great ending, wouldn't have it? Short, snappy, positive, heartwarming. Well. Too bad.)

When I reminded Princess that Daddy told her she'd be taking a nap at 4:00, she went into an hour-long snit, complete with name-calling and details about how exactly she planned to go about not obeying me. Although, the bulk of it was about how I was lying because I hadn't set the timer. The detail that the timer wasn't started because she wasn't following the directions required to earn the starting of the timer was apparently lost. Then, after dinner she tried to use that she had given me flowers to get a treat that she had not earned. So.

But the good news is that this morning she asked to rub my feet. And when Peanut asked what she was doing and I said, "showing me love," Peanut gave me a, "well, she's sure not going to get a leg up on ME" grimace, and she rubbed my feet, too. So I am now far less desperate-feeling than I was an hour ago.


  1. Oh yeah, I would call that a success for sure! A few tries to work around, manipulate, control whatever and it didn't work. I may try this one. I have taken to the exceptional parenting technique known as "zzzzt", as in every time I get yet another demand for something not needed or sheerly for attention sake, I make a buzzer sound and do not answer. How it that for some stellar parenting! (insert sarcasm font).

  2. You're being sarcastic?? I was thinking of adding that one to my arsenal....

  3. I have to have check-out days too. It keeps me from losing my mind. What's left of it anyway....