Mommy Defeats All Who Oppose Her
In a recent blog I may have alluded to the fact that my newly minted six year old and I do not always see eye to eye. (Something about her threatening to side-kick me… ANYWAY…)
I’ve been trying to figure out how this dynamic started (and yes, by “dynamic” I mean “ceaseless arguments/fighting) and whether it may be possible to change it. To my dismay, a total of every single one of my mom friends with girls around her age report similar issues: talking back, lack of respect, doing whatever she wants no matter what I say, and in fact doing it faster and with more stealth the more I yell STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now you can see why I’d like to find a solution. My voice is hoarse, throat sore, and vocal chords shot.
Granted, that may be allergies.
But the yelling doesn’t help. Her. Or me. Or my throat.
What to do?
I’ve made the commitment to stop yelling at her (and all the kids), and I’ve broken that commitment. (Note to self: add that to Rosh Hashanah repentance list, stat!) I try talking things out with her, but the conversations tend to go like this:
“Racheli, you simply cannot have another lollipop. You already had ice cream, two pieces of cake, and a lollipop. I already gave you a special treat because you were only supposed to get one piece of cake and no ice cream, and you promised me you would go outside and play after you finished the lollipop. So that’s it.”
“IMA” (insert HUGE teenage-worthy sigh) “Just one more lollipop! I promise I’ll behave if you give it to me, I PROMISE!”
“You’re not allowed to use good behavior as a bargaining chip. I expect good behavior from you without the extra lollipop.”
“I’m taking it.”
“Don’t you dare grab Esther’s lollipop. Do it and you’re going to Time Out.”
“So give me my own!”
“Because I’m the grown up. When we disagree, what I say goes. Because that’s the rule. If a kid and her mother disagree, whatever the mother says, goes.”
“UGHHHH I WISH I WERE A GROWN UP!!!”
“I know, honey, but you’ll see -
RACHELI! COME DOWN THIS MINUTE! YOU MAY NOT CLIMB UP THE CABINET AND GRAB A LOLLIPOP!”
“I’M GOING TO SIDE KICK YOU!”
…so you get the idea.
The other night, as I strolled her home from a late Shabbat service, following one of our usual fights, Racheli told me this, her voice rising with emotion as she spoke:
“Ima, I don’t like when you fight with me. Because I tell you something I want and then you tell me I’m not allowed to have it and I say I still want it and then you always defeat me. So it’s not fair.”
Something about the way she told me that “I defeat her” (karate speak?) made me laugh. I leaned down and tickled her and she cracked up and asked for more tickles. All disagreements forgotten.
Another day, another rollercoaster…
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)