Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More about the girl. Mostly.

So, we've been going along here, us two grownups and our now-no-longer-that-young child. I mean, she's eight years old, she's in third grade (or, as we say it up here in the Northern climes, Grade Three), she can read and write and get stuff out of the fridge herself (though I'm not sure if she can tie her own shoes; it doesn't matter, though, as none of her 21st-century shoes have laces), and yet...and yet...I continue to be not fully convinced that the Mermaid Girl is actually as old as she is.

Part of this is that she had a very difficult, snappish, weepy, whiny August, which I didn't write about that much because, a) we were buried under moving-related tasks, and b) I was afraid that if they read about how difficult she was being, all the grandparents would cancel their plane reservations. Um. Only partly kidding.

Even at the time, we knew that she was probably acting out of a) discombobulation at all the moving-related upheaval, and b) fear of having to be all responsible when she hit age 8/grade 3. Also, c) exhaustion, as she was seldom asleep before 11:30, despite our best efforts to get her into bed at a reasonable hour (it was hot, it was light until 9:30 or 10, and also she's just naturally a night person). I just didn't know what to do about it. Until the light suddenly dawned, one afternoon right before Labor Day, and I pointed my finger at her like the Wrath of Jehovah and intoned, "There WILL BE no more rudeness; there WILL BE no more backtalk; there WILL BE no more threats." And she burst into tears and slammed into her room and after that there has been pretty much no more of that stuff, plus she's been more cheerful in general.**

I could try it for other things I want ("There WILL BE no more food pickiness!") but I don't want to push my luck. Also, I think it only works when I have genuinely come to the end of my rope, and apparently I am willing to work with endless variations on cheddar cheese/peanut butter/eggs -and-a-vegetable. Also there are no peanut allergies in her classroom this year, which expands by about 33% the number of things I can send in her lunchbox. No kidding.

There was a related story I was going to tell about her lunchbox but I think I will save it for next time, also to motivate myself so that Next Time is sooner than a week and a half from now. Instead here is a short one, from last night, after I made her a bet that she couldn't clean up her room in 5 minutes, and the winner got to pick if the window was open or closed (it was sweltering in there, I swear).

MG: Mommy, it is less than five minutes and my room is all clean! You LOST!
Me: *big fake sobs* Oh! I lost! I loooossssst!
MG: [merrily, tauntingly] You are being a CRY BABY! Cry baby! Cry baby! Sore loser!
RW: [in the game but also trying to teach compassion/good sportsmanship] Um, I don't think that's going to help her feel better. Or act better.
MG: [complete change of mein to measured, therapeutic tones] Mommy. I see that you are crying.
RW and Me: *hysterical laughter at her dead-on imitation of "Good" Parenting Technique Gone Hopelessly Wrong*

p.s. I am not much for teh random funny links--or for Twitter, for that matter--but as one who actually once followed a good part of the Laura Ingalls trail across the country [albeit in a blue Dodge Dart rather than a covered wagon] I really must share this. Sample: "Must remember that when one drops candy on the floor, the "five-second rule" doesn't work. That's the trouble with sod houses" So very true.

p.p.s. Rosie Bonner is back! O Frabjuous day!

**Writing this down, it suddenly reminds me of this Dharma & Greg episode in which for some reason they were taking care of a teenage girl, and she missed her curfew and Greg was all "Young lady, YOU are GROUNDED!" and Dharma was like, "wow, I had no idea it was that easy!" Which was funny because, you know, grounded, grounded, two different meanings of the word...But in this case, actually, it was that easy. After my outburst MG seemed much more grounded. Go figure.

3 Comments:

Blogger Arwen said...

Oh yay!
I actually have noted that the only thing that works with my parenting is when I'm feeling simply DONE. Not necessarily angry, but just finished.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Tall Kate said...

Your dialogue is too funny. No wonder you were reduced to hysterical laughter!

7:32 AM  
Blogger Ellen said...

The Bolt of Taash Falls from Above.

Good on ya, kiddo! Just keep pointing that finger.

11:21 AM  

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