This morning, I refused to take Monkey to a playdate.
She cried and I felt bad but I also held firm.
She kept us up late, playing with her light, faking us out about being awake and I have had it.
I also talked to her, starting with my being angry and then cooling down about that, and many other instances where she does not take into account the effect that she has on the lives of others in our house and in other areas of our lives.
There is also now a rule that outside of her possesions, her room and her feelings, nobody and that means Buddy in particular, asks her permission about anything.
She is 8 years old and she is not in charge of most things or situations and that is the way it is going to be.
That also means that there are now going to be two different bed times for them, Monkey will be in bed a 1/2 to a full hour before Buddy. She may not fall asleep but she will be tucked in and her lights will be out.
Hopefully this will result in some positive changes for everyone.
Buddy will get to spend some extra time, either on his own or with his older siblings and Monkey will not be able to order him out of the bathroom and demand to be allowed access to it first.
Yes, it is something that she has been doing and getting away with for quite some time.
When Monkey was crying this morning, I also steeled myself and did not scoop her up to comfort her. I did stay with her and talk to her, but I let her come to me physically.
I also talked to her about her feelings, saying that I could understand it if she was disappointed and unhappy about not going on the playdate.
So then I asked her directly, are you unhappy about that?
I asked her if she could tell me that in words and....
Not at all.
She struggled with it and finally shook her head and a fresh wave of sobbing erupted.
This morning I realized that she really can't use the words.
So I think we are going to be looking into signs that she could try to use and I need to get some of those "feelings" posters to put up.
How do you teach a kid empathy?
You take it back to the beginning and you do it just like with babies and toddlers.
That means a lot of supervision and a lot of intervention and a lot of modelling and a lot of repetition and positive re-inforcement.
I'm tired already.
Another telling thing was when she looked at me, with her real face and said, "But Mom, I don't KNOW when I am being cute."
I believe her.
The title of this post has to do with how another parent that I know referred to me today.
She didn't mean it in an unkind way, I think, she probably felt she was being accurate and helpful but...
can I just say that it hurt?
A couple of weeks ago, I was really tired (okay, when aren't I?) and getting all the kids and all the stuff to the park for our homeschool meet up had been a detailed exercise in frustration and we ended up bringing different stuff than we were supposed to for a water fight and ....
my oldest son started in on me about how it was my fault or something like that and I snapped.
I got louder and used an angry voice and was inappropriate(ish) for about a minute...in front of other parents and then I was embarrassed and toned it all down and took a deep breath and dealt with it all and then discovered that the other parents were ignoring me.
And they ignored me for a good twenty minutes and I felt really, really bad...
like killing myself bad (no this is not a plea for help and no I am not suicidal nor am I prone to indulging in suicidal ideation, I just know that if I were this would be how bad I would have to feel for a while).
One of them later told me that they were ignoring me on purpose, to give me some time to just cool down.
Today I tried to talk to one of the parents about how hard it is sometimes to do what I am doing and she made the comment that "you do seem harsh with the kids" and then tempered it with "but I don't know what the rest of your life is like" -
but that didn't temper it enough to make me feel better at all, instead that crack that you might be hearing is my heart...
is there any way that I can say how very much I don't want to be seen or thought of as Harsh?
can I just say that?
I love my kids, when things are bad and when things are good
I work really hard at it
I want so much to do it as right as I can
I owe them so much and
now I am having a pity party but that is one of the words that I think of when i think of my own father
And it feels Harsh.