My little digits have been itching to tap away at the qwerty keyboard recently but every time I sit down to blog, I back away from my laptop, too afraid to say what I really want to. 

I don’t know. Emma’s escapades when she was little were cute. Well, to me anyway. The funny little things she did or said,  reporting to anyone who cared that she had taken her first step or said her first word.  How much I adored this tiny soul that had stolen my heart, and the little makeup I had. 

At the moment, though, I battle to find too much endearing about my five (soon to be six) year old. And I’m sure she feels the same way about me. The holidays are long, the days are long, my temper short. Not a good combination.

On Saturday, after numerous warnings, Emma got a time out. And as I was closing the door she yelled “you don’t even like me!” To which I replied, “I love you and I really don’t like doing this!” “The whole day you’ve told me ugly!” I slowly closed the door and slumped down on the other side.

How did we get here? Was it my smart little girl manipulating the situation or does she really think that? The latter would be devastating. The former, I’m not sure how I feel about it just yet.

At times she wants cuddles and to be my baby girl. And then, suddenly, she ways nothing to do with me. I’m persona non grata. I’m a mother without a cause. She hasn’t said it, but I’m guessing she doesn’t particularly like me either. I shout too much, I yell and scream. My impatience shows like the nose on my face.

It’s a vicious circle.  To get attention she hurts Ben,  not badly, but enough for him to come crying to me. Emma in turn, gets moaned at, feels unliked,  and in retaliation, she does something ‘naughty’ again. To get moaned at again. To retaliate again. To get moaned at again. 

How does one manage situations with a strong willed child? I don’t want to ‘tame’ her or break her spirit but I also don’t want to be a walk over. I don’t want Emma to get away with things because I’ve given up, too tired for another battle of wills. Which battles do I take on, which do I let go?

Christmas morning saw me wanting to throttle my child (figuratively speaking of course). Emma had opened one of her gifts and instead of gushing with excitement and gratitude, she said “but I didn’t want this!” A child who knows what she wants or a spoilt kid?

It didn’t help that I was exhausted from playing Santa the night before.  Staying up late to wrap last minute presents, eating Santa’s biscuits and devouring the reindeer food, to make it all look authentic. 

Later that day we went to friends for Christmas cocktails and before Emma greeted anyone, including her godmother,  she wanted to know who all the presents on the table belonged to, and which were hers. I wanted to die with embarrassment but dear friends reminded me she’s little, and that’s what little people do.

That night, lying in bed, recalling the events of the day and how I had gotten angry with Emma for not loving all her gifts, I remembered one particular christmas I had asked Santa for a watch.  Tradition in our house was that my brothers and I placed our pillow cases on the couches and chairs in the lounge, which Santa filled with presents. I raced through mine, hoping, praying for my watch. With each and every gift ripped open, my disappointment grew. By the time I was at the end of my pile and still without the only present I really wanted, I rushed through to my parents’ room.

Angry and sad and in tears I cried. There was no watch.  I hated Santa.  I hated christmas. I hated all my presents. I hated life.  My mom,  still half asleep, asked if I had looked everywhere, including the Christmas tree. Running back to the lounge, there it was. A rectangular shaped box, flat and long. Exactly what a wrapped watch would look like. Suddenly all was right with the world. I was smiling.  Did my mom and dad lie there, wondering whether I was a child who knew what I wanted or a spoilt kid? Were they disappointed with my bratty behaviour? Did they despair at the horrible daughter I had become?

I’m terrified to say that there are times I really don’t like my little girl.  I hate admitting that  there are moments when she’s not my favourite person in the world. There are instances I’m scared of what I might say or do.

Aren’t we supposed to be in a constant honeymoon phase with our kids or is it ok for those rose-tinted glasses to come off and for us to see things in the (real) light of day?

Please, please tell me I’m not alone in my despair.

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6 thoughts on “When you’re too afraid to blog

  1. Ah hun, I am going through the exact same thing with Jae, it must be a 5 yr old thing. I have spent the last week fighting with her non stop and saying things that I wish I could take back the minute they come out of my mouth. I have even given her a few smacks because the naughty corner just was not working and I was frustrated and she was pushing all the wrong buttons!

    Lets not even get started on Christmas…… She got EVERYTHING that she asked for and more. She asked for one doll, she got 2. She asked for games, she got plenty. But as the day wore on and the prezzies got less and less she kept asking why she isnt getting more presents. She even asked my mom (who doesn't have millions to spend on Christmas presents) if that was all she was getting. I died a thousand deaths!!!!!! And I tell myself I am raising a little monster. And then she turns around and gives me and everyone around her love and kisses and sweetness and I wonder if I am making this all up in my mind……

    Strength. I think the only way we will be able to get through this is 'playdates'.

  2. Not only are you not alone, your post kind of cheered me up a bit! My 5 year old has fallen asleep on the couch again, where she was sulking after I didn't take her offer of 'one more chance to be nice, mom'. I think at this age they use the weapons they have, and for them it is being mean. They are also very good at manipulating your feelings. Everything revolves around them, and that's why there is also a lack of gratitude sometimes, and they don't see anything wrong in asking for what they think they deserve.
    But you know what, it will get better. We just have to persevere. It's tough, I know. I don't want to spend my entire holiday shouting and fighting, but I am not going to give in either. At the moment she seems to have forgotten who is in charge, and I guess it is my job to remind her, no matter how much she hates it. From talking to other moms, I am fairly convinced it's an age thing. Most of the time they perfectly fine, then they suddenly turn into screaming little balls of fury without warning. You also can't reason with them, and nothing is ever their fault.
    I tried the play date thing on Saturday, as Emy suggested, but after half an hour it was more like 'welcome to fight club'. The other little girl was even more manipulative, as she has siblings, so I guess she needs to fight for attention. But it does confirm that they are all the same at this age. So while it is not fun, and we may think we are raising a little monster, I don't think we are (most of the time). This parent thing is not for the faint hearted!

  3. My kids are grown up (youngest is 19) I think what I learnt over the course of their childhoods is that the good times come and go. I always loved my girls, but there were times when one or other of them was difficult to like. My eldest daughter at 13 and 14…. the stuff of nightmares! My youngest at 4…. hell on legs.

    Someone once said to me that “when they are least lovable is when they need your love the most” and I believe that to be true. In retrospect I can see that the times when my girls were really, really difficult was when they were fighting some inner demon of their own. When they needed extra reassurance that my love was unconditional, was when they played up the most and really tested my endurance as a mom.

    For me it boiled down to patience (which I have in very short supply unfortunately) and basically sacrificing myself – my pride, my time, my wants… sometimes it felt like more than I had to give – and loving them through the tough times. I think it's times like these when we find out how hard being a mom really is. I screwed up profoundly many a time, there are things I STILL kick myself about years down the line. But one thing I can say with pride is I never gave up…. I'd have a truly KAK day with one or other of them and the next day I would try again to be a better mom. It's something I can look back on with pride now. And you'll be able to as well… just keep going. {hugs}

  4. I'm so sorry to read you are going through this. Thankfully my child is still at the age where I am her all in all. Long may it last.

    I remember telling my mom one time too many that I hated her when I was growing up and that I am certain she picked me up from the side of the road and all those nasty things that only kids can say and get away with. Did I mean them – yes at the time I thought I did after all I was a kid and wasn't getting my way or what I wanted so I HATED my mom. Looking back the best thing she did for me was to be firm in her resolve around whatever issue was causing this hatred.

    So dear friend you are not failing, your child is going through a phase that many kids go through. Hopefully as with all things this too shall come to pass

  5. I don't have any advice for you, really, other than: drink wine?

    But I did want to tell you that your honesty in writing floors me. I wish that I will one day write my mommy stories as honestly as you do. And to me, it just makes you a better mother, one who is prepared to admit the hard stuff in the pursuit of better days.

    xoxox

  6. Maybe it's like marriage – you have a honeymoon and then reality sets in? You still love them but like many relationships, it has its ups and downs.
    I have a two year old who is cute most of the time except when he's having tantrums.

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