Today, I hang my head in shame. Attempting to keep the tears at bay & failing dismally, I contemplate ending it all & making that leap over the Brink Of Insanity. Surely I deserve such a fate, throwing myself in to the abyss, after a day that finally saw my children turn on me…nearly in unison, almost as one, declaring me the “worst Mommy ever!”. And what was it that brought about this turn of events here in Crazy Town? What exactly was my crime? How could I, Martha Stewart Mommy, commit a parenting fail so epic as to suddenly be labeled persona non grata to my perfect little angels? Despite my despair & humiliation, I’d be remiss if I didn’t impart this parenting wisdom, learned too late for me, in hopes of sparing you a similar tragedy.
There’s A Storm Brewing…
It was a seemingly normal day. You hear that sometimes, how people never saw it coming. I had no idea there was a storm brewing on the horizon. The kids arrived home from school, & immediately headed off to their usual activities. The One I Butt Heads With on the computer with the phone growing out of her head, The Diva & The Baby off to the Barbie basket to fight over Edward, & The Boy up to his room & the lure of the X-Box. Being a cheer night, I started dinner early to ensure it was on the table by 5 p.m., & as I puttered at a pot of rice, I went through backpacks & agendas for the next day. The One I Butt Heads With, my 10 year old daughter, had an upcoming French test noted. I poked my head in to the adjoining room & reminded her of the rules. As our struggling student, with no interest & little effort put forth, she must complete homework prior to being on the computer or the phone. She barely passed a science test last week, having left the studying to the last minute, & when she shot me a “look” & stated the French test wasn’t until Thursday, I reminded her of this & told her to get to it. And sadly, that was my fatal mistake. Out of nowhere, thunder clapped, the lights flickered, her head spun around 360 degrees, & a demonic screech came out of her mouth…”SHUT UP MOTHER!”. As the words assaulted me, I realized the clapping thunder & flickering lights were the result of the blinding rage washing over me, & her head spinning round was merely a flash of fantasy in which I myself had knocked her silly. Because not only had this child just spoken to me like that, she was still on the phone with her little friend when she did it! The rest is a little hazy, but it involved deep breathing, counting to ten, & my own demonic hiss telling her to hang up the phone. As I shut down the computer, yanked the phone away from her, & tucked her iPod in to my pocket, I told her she had lost them all for the rest of the day, & she was to take her French to her room & study until dinner. “NO! I’m NOT studying!”. “Do you want to lose the computer for the rest of the week? Keep it up.” “SHUT…UP!” Fine, the rest of the week it is. “SHUT UP!”. Well, there’s the weekend, shall we keep going? “SHUT UUUPPPPPPP”. Two weeks. By now, her face was purple, & I had, quite wisely, backed away from her so as to no longer be within smacking range…after noting my hand, seemingly of it’s own accord, reaching out towards her. We went on like this, back & forth, eventually getting to four weeks with no computer or iPod. But by then, I’d had enough…those are the only things that ever keep this child quiet, without them, she is everywhere, fighting with everyone, & making the noise of ten kids. I’d never survive 5 weeks. I went over to her, put her French in her hands, & steered her by the shoulders to the stairs. She, of course, made sure to slam her feet through every step on her way up, & for added emphasis, slammed her door hard enough to rattle the windows…& my teeth…screaming, “I HATE YOU!!!!”, at the top of her lungs. I slunk back to the kitchen, wondering how I’d missed the Dr. Phil episode warning me that if I enforced the rules & revoked privileges, my child would hate me. Thanks for nothing, you bald, hairy lipped bastard. I turn off the burner, & scoop out a spoonful of rice to cool down & taste test. Then it’s off to the laundry room to switch loads, hoping these mundane tasks would help me push through the pain. I return to the kitchen to find the spoon on the floor & rice everywhere. The Diva is nonchalantly scrunched in to a corner of the couch with a book, while The Baby has just come in dragging all their sleeping bags behind her. Because I’m a Mom, I immediately deduce from the scene before me that The Diva had jumped up on to the counter to steal my spoonful of rice, it had proven too hot, causing her to drop it, scattering it everywhere, then, fearing trouble, tried to pull her usual, “Who, ME??” routine. As I inform her in no uncertain terms that I’m not buying it for a second, & begin to crawl around picking up rice, The Baby is suddenly spreading sleeping bags out all over the floor. I turn my grousing from The Diva to The Baby, & tell both of them to just skedaddle & stay out of my face until dinner. Now The Diva storms out of the room, in full blown diva fashion, screaming that I never let them do anything & all I ever do is yell at them not to make a mess. Damn that Dr. Spock for not including a chapter warning to never ever ask your kids to clean up their messes. If only I’d known what heartache that would cause. Sniffle. The Baby is hot on her trail, dragging the sleeping bags with her. As I poke through my dishwasher looking for kleenex…yes, my dishwasher is used as a cupboard, shut up…I turn to see The Baby has returned, & is apparently doing her best to look haughty. I’m dismayed to realize she’s pulling it off. Clearly she has something to say. I wait. She crosses her arms & continues with the “look”, though I can see the internal struggle all over her face. Finally she says this…”I hate you.”. I counter with a look of my own, & say, “Pardon me?”. She quickly says, “(The Diva) hates you. You’re being mean to her.”. I press her, “And you?”. She hesitates, then says it again, “I hate you!”. And stomps her little four year old feet out of the room & after her sisters.
Gone To The Dark Side…
And there it was…she is one of “them” now. I expect it won’t be long before they organize a full blown mutiny, & oust me from my position as Mayor. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some sorrows to drown, some little girls to cold shoulder, & an abyss to throw myself in to.
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