Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Mama Whining

I am about to whine. If you don't like whining (who does?) then you might not want to read this.

Still reading?

Tessa is driving me NUTS lately. I know that she is a blessing, a gift, and the greatest joy in my life. I know that children are supposed to drive their parents nuts. I know that this is some new developmental stage and will pass. I know that she's not trying to make me crazy, and that if this is the new disequilibrium then it's not working well for her, either, and it's my job to help her. I know I need to work on my patience. I know that she is a great kid, a joy, a delight, and that I am a VERY lucky Mama.


However, she is getting down-right sassy, and short of locking her in the attic I am not sure what to do about it.

Today? Picked her up to take her to the doc to check out her cough and the small rash on her arm that hasn't gone away. (Cough? Nothing. Rash? Eczema. Nothing big.) The patient bench had a roll of white paper over it, and Tessa rolled, jumped, scrinkled for about 15 minutes - intentionally making lots of noise - while we waited for the doc. Finally, I said, "I can't take that sound any more - could you please stop?" Skrinkle, skrinkle, skrinkle. "Tessa, please stop. Here, let's look at this magazine together." Skrinkle, skrinkle, skrinkle. "Tessa, stop immediately. Come over here. "Skrinkle, skrinkle. "Tessa, no more warnings. " Ahhh - the doc comes in. Skrinkle, skrinkle, skrinkle. Doc talking, I can't hear because Tessa is making so much noise with the paper. "Excuse me doctor, I need to address this: Tessa, I can not hear the doctor because you are making so much noise. Stop immediately." Skrinkle, skrinkle.

I had to stop the doctor THREE TIMES because of Tessa. It's a good thing that I don't spank because I wanted to THRASH my child at that point. (Deep breaths, Mama, deep breaths.)

Leaving the office, "No doctor's office lolipop for you. Those are for good behavior, and yours was terrible." "But MAMA....."

We got in the car and I said, "I am very disappointed with you." We had A Talk.

We got home. Homework time.

Tessa has taken AN HOUR to fill in six blanks with words like "treat" and "head". Me in the kitchen making dinner, two feet from her the whole time, encouraging her. And then telling her "If you don't just DO this, I will write a note to Ms. H saying that you wouldn't do your homework and should do it at recess."

I had to go downstairs to put the wash in the dryer. I said, "Tessa, I have to put the wash in the dryer. I'll be right back, okay?" "Okay." I am at the bottom of the stairs, five seconds later, and she starts yelling. "Mama! MAMA! MAAAAMAAAAA!" This is the irritated "I want your attention" voice, not the "help me - a giant alien is in our kitchen" voice.

I ignore her. I put the wash in the dryer, and she yells the whole time.

I come upstairs, steaming. I say, "That is RUDE. I told you where I was - why did you yell for me?" She says, "I need another bean" (for counting).

I tell her that I need her to finish her homework without me, because the day has me too frustrated to help her at this moment.

So I'm here, whining.

Are you still with me? I doubt it - this isn't exactly great reading.

But what am I to do?! I want to be consistent, give logical consequences, and raise a child who is thoughtful and grateful. I want to give her what she needs, and then some (out of love). I want to give boundaries, and keep them. I want to maintain my cool, and discipline her with love and logic when it is required.

But what happens when she just stares at me blankly, and then goes back to her list of demands?

I was actually saying, "Tessa, I need you to be more considerate" and she interrupted me and demanded extra counting beans. (At which point, I bit off her head, and then went to the computer.)

Our attic is dark and dreary and cold - maybe I could lock her in there? No, I'd feel bad.

She has been such a great kid in so many ways - where did she go? What do I do to coax that version of herself back?!

I've got to go upstairs. She is walking around, which means, unless she's carrying a clipboard and pencil, she's not doing her homework.

I will be calm. I will not yell. I will take away all of her toys for the rest of her life.....no, no, bad Mama. I will come up with something....something....

Okay, I've got nothing right now.



amgravatt said...

Okay, so I read your entire thing and I am not a mother, or anywhere close to it, but I do love children and watching my cousin raising her children has taught me some things. Sometimes punishing wont solve anything, rewarding will. Now, I am not saying reward her for demanding and yelling, but maybe make up a system that if she does all her homework for the week, on time, without being a pest, etc, that she can get a toy at the end of the week, or the end of two weeks... Example: My cousin Jacob HATED, just simply abhorred going to the washroom. So instead of punishing him for going in his pants, his mom and dad said that if he didn't have not one accident all week, he would get a new toy. At the time he was really into the movie, Cars. So, when he went a week without an accident, they went and bought him a little like 8 dollar Cars toy. And now, he goes to the bathroom all on his own, hasn't had an accident for a while. Now that he understands the importance of going to the bathroom and he just does it now, he no longer gets rewarded, but when he didn't like going, the reward system was amazing and really helped him.

I hope that helps, sorry I babbled a little. I hate trying to explain things in writing.

Julie said...

I really think parenting gets so much harder as they get older.

I would've removed the paper at the doctor's office personally or had one of my kids do it. One warning and then the paper is in the trash can. I'm sure the doctor has seen that a million times. (-:
Otherwise, I think you're spot on- she will grow up to be a wonderful woman- don't worry about that as much as you are. Kids like to test and test us to see how we will react.
I think it's good in the long run to have a fiesty child. This same fiesty child will have the confidence to stand his/her ground as he/she gets older. I always worry that the perfectly compliant children will be the same ones who so easily succumb to peer pressure because they have always just done what was asked of them.
You're a great Mom and your daugher is a gem.

Kristina said...

Amgravatt, we've tried that - and now she starts negotiating when she wants something, saying "I'll do it if on Saturday you buy me a toy." Not exactly how I thought it would work! We are trying to teach her the joy of doing the righ tthing for the right thing's sake. When you make your bed, you don't get a trophy - ya know? Sometimes rewards work but I am not going to buy her a toy every week for doing a job that she should do anyway. Julie - why didn't I think of removing the paper? THat is simple and brilliant - good grief I wish you were with me when I was staring at my stranger-child and wondering what to do. :-) I *am* glad that she's fiesty, really I am....but why can't she use her powers for good?! Today is a new day....