"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."

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Coaching is something I really have not gotten good at yet, so obviously I try to avoid it. Unfortunately, not doing it just doesn't work well. I believe Princess WANTS to have good relationships with her siblings and friends. I believe she loves me the very best she can, and that she WANTS to show it. She just plain does. not. know. how. Her emotional age is much younger than her seven years, so she has difficulty pulling her wants down from the first place shelf.

The day after the Chewing the Chair day she was freakishly compliant. I interpreted that as recognition that her behavior had not been anywhere near appropriate. She got her pajamas on and brushed her teeth at 4:30 without complaint. She sat in the Homework Chair from 5:00 to 5:30 with nary a curled lip. She even did a homework she with not one I Need Heeeeeeeeeeeelp. Ok, yes, it was a math sheet that was a repeat from last week; she had done the exact same one two days before, but we take what we can get around here.

So Saturday morning I wasn't completely emotionally wasted. I was seated with all the kids doing the Cuddle Bear's hair when I heard:

"Peanut, you want to play Mommy. I mean House?"

Now, I have heard this conversation 84,000 times. I know what's coming down the pipes. It is not pretty. So I say, buck up, Kerrie; time for some practice. I listen in a little longer.

Peanut: "Can I be the mommy?"
Princess: "No. But you can be the kid. Or the grandma. Or a teenager."
Peanut: "But I want to be the mommy! I NEVER GET TO BE THE MOMMY!"

Wonder Mommy: "Princess, did you hear Peanut? She's telling you that she wants to play with you but she wants to be the mommy."
Princess: "But I want to be the mommy."
WM: "I know you do. Which is why I want you to take a moment to decide which is more important to you- being the mommy or playing house with Peanut."
Princess: "Peanut, you can be a teenager...."
WM: "No Princess. When you play with other people they need to have what they want sometimes too. Or they leave. You can have everything the way you want when you play by yourself. So which way do you want to play?"
Princess: "By myself."

Of course, the conversation didn't go exactly like this. There was a lot of fussing and whining by both parties involved. But there really isn't a font for that on this program.

Princess got out her weaving loom for a while, and it was ok. But as I was getting ready to leave for a hair cut (by myself! Oh joy!) the two of them ran up the stairs like elephants and I heard Peanut say, "it's ok; I'll be the kid." Then, inexplicably, Princess said, "ok, let's play. What do you want to be?"

The best explanation of what was going on in her head *I* think was, "ok, if Peanut says, 'I want to be the kid,' then that's me compromising! Yay!" Regardless, I intervened.

WM: "Whoa! Hold on there Princess. You just asked Peanut what she WANTS. So let's here the answer."
Peanut (sheepishly): "I want to be the Mommy."
WM: "Princess, you just asked a question you didn't want to know the answer to. Let's try that differently. You can say, 'Peanut, is it ok to play with me even though I'm the mommy?'" She did. Peanut said yes. I found Josh.

I gave Josh the rundown, letting him know the game would last about five minutes before degenerating into screaming and hair-pulling. Then I went back to the girls' room.

"Ok guys, I told Daddy that Peanut compromised and is playing something she doesn't really want to play because you both want to play together. So he'll be listening in on the voices and words you use with each other. Bye!"

Josh told me later that they never even played. They went outside. Too much risk, I guess.

Last night was totally brutal, and I was still REALLY angry when I woke up in the morning. I said something a little on the snarky side to Princess about her first daily words to me being in the "gimme" category. Then I had my coffee. Before we left for church I said, "you know, I'd really like you to try something. I'd like you to pay attention to what the other kids say to me. Because they talk to me very, very differently than you do, and I don't know that you've noticed. It might be interesting. I'll help you." Then, when we got out of the Suburban, I said, "did you notice the other kids would say, "Mom!" and then they'd tell me something they were thinking about? The do that a lot."

And here is my proof I am on the right track: as we were leaving church, Princess said, "Mom! How was your church class?" Stunned out of my mind I replied, "I really enjoyed the singing and learning that God is big. Thank you so much for asking!"

Of course, the joy ended at the farm store when she stuck her hands down in the bin of baby chicks and waved them back and forth. And it didn't increase any when I lent Buddy money for "squishies" (a second-grade boy collecting fad) out of a vending machine.

"But why don't I get one!"
"Princess, where are the ones I bought you?"
(exaggerated nerve-pinching shoulder shrug)
"Uh-huh. Buddy, where are your other squishies?"
"In a bag on my desk."
"Princess, I will be happy to contribute to a collection when we find something you care about. But I am not going to use money to buy you MORE of something you already DON'T care about. I love you and you are special even when I don't buy you things you don't really want."
"But I like bouncy balls (in the other vending machine)!"
"Yep! That's great! Daddy's waiting for us!"

Up. Down. Up. Down. We've gone up and down together at least four times while I was writing this. I keep reminding myself that she has to push me away every time she lets herself get close.

But man, do I have bruises

(Later, by the way, I happened to be at the grocery store, and I grabbed a skip-ball rope for Princess; she had mastered the one I bought last year, but it broke and I wanted to replace it. In the car on the way home I suddenly realized how perfect the timing was. I found her and said, "you remember when I wouldn't buy you the squishies, but I said when I saw something you WOULD care about, I might buy it?" She nodded her head. I handed her the bag. Her eyes lit up, and without even opening it, she yelled, "thank-you Mommy!" and threw her arms around me. Ahhhhh.)

1 comment:

  1. AHA! Awesome job there! Seize the moment and use what you have. Now, take a rest!