Too many mental tabs open today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Round and round

I love school holidays because I get to spend the whole day with K, I dislike school holidays because after a few hours my head starts spinning. I love my daughter, everyone I know knows I love my daughter. She was 6 before I finally allowed her to spend the night away from me. Yes, I had never spent a night away from my child until recently. It's not that I thought she would have a problem or be homesick, clearly that was not the problem. The problem was me, I wasn't ready to be apart from her. It sounds silly and overbearing but I like knowing that she's only a few feet from me when I go to bed.

Now that's not to say that all the time we spend together doesn't make me want to rip my hair out, I often feel this way. She's a great kid, smart and intuitive to a fault (can't get mad at her for this, she's me in a tiny body) but so stubborn. That's where we lock horns. I tire easily after repeating myself a thousand times, like at lunch today "K, please sit on your chair, this is a restaurant" "K, please, on the chair" "Hey, K? Please stay on the chair" until finally "K SIT ON THE CHAIR ALREADY!!!!!" I use this style of communication on a daily basis, about eating (she doesn't) getting ready, brushing her teeth, basically everything. I will say that when I do get to that point she is nothing short of compliant and turns into the angel I know she can be. I'm not saying I want a Stepford kid, but it would be nice not to have to repeat every single thing every single day. I know that tomorrow morning I will go through this same process over and over making my head spin. In fact as I write this I have completely lost my voice, again. And yes, D is probably quite happy.

Which brings me right to D (hi baby!) I don't have to tell him to sit on chairs, thankfully, with D the escalation in my voice is more subtle and usually takes years, not minutes. If something bothers me, I'll keep it to myself, until I can no longer live with it. Then I will gently let him know that something may be bothering me a little. Soon after that I will remind him that we still need this issue addressed. Then I'll let him know that maybe I'm not happy with what's going on. He will acknowledge my dislike or complaint, and we will go on, with little or no change. It will escalate (in my mind) until I am really angry and then the shit hits the fan. It must be like a gentle poke, and then another, and then another, and then another until finally you need to be heard and go right to a headbutt.

No fun, I assure you.

I am doing my best to be clear about the things I want and need from my family and friends. I'm not used to that, I'm used to just doing things all by myself, but I don't live my life alone so that's not possible. I realize that my head spins and my voice gets to a level that is unpleasant because I make it that way. I need to let it all out as soon as I feel it, whatever "it" is. Keeping it in does me no good, but worse it creates that spinning out of control feeling that escalates until the mountain has been made from the molehill. It creates unnecessary feelings of anger and resentment regardless of the cause and the cause could be something stupid like leaving a coffee cup somewhere.

So what I learned today: It's not the end of the world if K doesn't sit at lunch. If she takes too long to brush her teeth and we leave a little later will it really matter? If the coffee cup is on the desk for a few minutes, the world will not come to an end. I have literally lost my voice repeating the same things over and over, no wonder my head spins.

When we pass the Santa Monica Pier K will sometimes say to me "Mama, why don't you like the Ferris wheel?" and I tell her it's because I ride it every day, and she'll laugh. I think next time she asks me I'll ask her if she'd like to join me for a ride.

I wouldn't mind that kind of spinning.

1 comment:

  1. Great topic M! I appreciate your honesty and candor. I think we can all (who have kids) relate to these situations with K. Of course she's a great kid but can try your patience and wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to repeat yourself endlessly. It's because she's a confident kid, pushing boundaries and is less compliant than you probably were but an angel no less. As for D, the gentle prodding, turned yelling is akin to tapping someone on the side so often, a bruise finally appears. I experience similar yelling in my head, fortunately nobody hears it, I think.