Saturday, October 11, 2008

I wasn't cut out for this

I don't really think I'm cut out to be the mother of a 6 year old. I don't mind the toddler years so much, though they were hard, and I've positively enjoyed the teenage years, but this 6 year old thing is making me nuts.

Heather of the EO used the word "sassitude" in description of her 3 year old's latest style. He is 3, right Heather? Anyway, a wise mama at GCM likes to remind us all that 6 year olds are like 3x2 ... meaning they are like 3 year olds times 2 (because they're bigger & smarter now). At 3, sassitude was surprising and somewhat funny (Heather may beg to differ). At 6, sassitude is decidedly not funny.

The primary issue lately is flat out telling me "no" when I tell her to do such and such. I know she's trying to find out how much power she has and get a sense of her own independence. I know she's putting her feelers out to find the boundaries. And I also know that making sure there are boundaries helps her to feel safe. I gotta tell ya, though, I understand why parents "give in" when faced with the sure knowledge that as soon as they enforce the boundary, insane shrieking will commence. This is aggravated many-fold by living in a duplex downstairs from your in-laws. Who wouldn't rather just give in than wait out the screaming fit knowing that grandma is right upstairs? Ugh.

I have to tell you that Mane is a total charm the other half of the time. She's cooperative, helpful (think folding laundry & setting the table), loving, and empathic. She loves to snuggle and make cards telling me how much she loves me. She wants to know everything about the whole world. She loves to take care of other kids. She makes friends easier than I do.

Maybe that's what makes the sassitude so difficult to deal with. It comes on so suddenly, and the charming girl is buried so deep under there it's hard to remember. And she seems so mature and reasonable sometimes...until she just really isn't.



Hmmm...you know, typing this all out has reminded me that we were just in a major car accident this week, and it's possible that the emotions and attitude are running high and wild because the whole world tilted for a little while. I forget that Mane needs structure and predictability as much as I do. When something throws a wrench in the predictability everything falls apart. I need to watch for that on other weeks when this starts to happen. This week isn't the first time I've noticed it, but I'm willing to bet there were other factors associated with other weeks.

Ok, ok...I'm putting a lot of things together now. For Mane, whenever life is unpredictable, she responds by digging in her heels or getting really irritable and angry. It shouldn't be hard for me to see this because I'm the same way. But instead I sit here being frustrated because she isn't being her usual, predictable self, which makes me feel irritable and angry. *sigh*

I'm hoping to teach her to make sense of these feelings as she gets older. I've worked through a lot of this type of stuff with Vespera. I think it's harder with Mane because she's not old enough to really understand the abstract way that life events, emotions, and behavior work together. This is what makes 6 really hard for me. If it were Vespera, we'd talk it out.

I wonder if there are some ways to begin talking it out with a 6 year old. I'll keep ya'll posted.

And...fyi...I didn't plan this post. It came together just the way I wrote it. Thanks for reading if you've made it this far.

1 comment:

  1. I love how blogging helps you think out loud and work things out.

    Also, there's a thing going on over at the EO where I've asked moms to list all the things they're doing well. Everything they can think of! You should do it, even if it's just on paper at home. Because I think you're an amazing mom! :)

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