Monday, March 24, 2008

Love & Hate

She loves me.

She hates me.

She loves me!

She hates me!

No flowers were harmed in figuring this one out.

"I just want a crumb of food! I'm hungreeeeee!" she cries as she slogs up the stairs, exhaustion and starvation slow her limbs, deadening the feeling in her legs. Can death be far?

Mine? Hers? Eric's?

Does it even matter anymore?

We had a bad episode yesterday afternoon, right before we were to go for a walk to the park. Big explosion of rotten behavior because...? I asked her to open the door and check how cool it was so that she'd know if those cropped pants were appropriate for the weather or not. She exploded into Awful Child Goo all over me, which caused me to turn into Psycho Mom and call off the park trip.

Instead I took the twins and went for a big walk on our own. To calm down.

Tonight's issue? Having a shower before bed so that when we see Grammy tomorrow she doesn't give her an allergic reaction. Grammy, sadly enough, is allergic to the cats. Hugging and snuggling Caitlin if she hasn't bathed right before they see one another is bad for Grammy.

I would have thought Caitlin's love for Grammy would have outweighed her need to defy me. Apparently not. After I calmly explained the whole Grammy + cat fur = Bad Reaction to Caitlin I asked her if she wanted Grammy to get sick.

"No," came the expected response. "I want you to get sick."

Stunned silence.

Eric sent her to the stairs for a timeout. I sat there and tried to figure my next move. I spent hours discussing strategy with Eric last night which all boiled down to: If you lose your temper, she wins.

So I held on. Then I went over to the stairs and calmly asked her why she was trying to hurt me.

There's never any good or logical answer to that.

Then there was the Final Warning: go take a bath and stop this behavior or you're Going to Bed Without Supper. Friendly Friends, before you fret, we had a very late and large lunch at 3 pm, so it's not like she's starving over here. OK? Good. Just wanted you to know that my bath enforcing/get your own water cruelty does have some limit.

So, of course, there was additional Fit Throwing.

This kid, she's becoming a Power Fit Thrower. I wish I could tape it, but Eric won't let me. Not even for Posterity.

Earlier today, we tried "reconnecting" by going to the zoo. There was a Carousel
ride. There were fries for a snack. There was a milkshake at lunch. There was even nice conversation and hugs. There were protestations of undying love and of being her Favorite Mommy.

That was so 5 hours ago, Mommy!

I am so not looking forward to the teen years.

Got any advice? Leave it in the comments. Help meeeeeee!


jennifer h said...

This sounds just like my life. My girl is 6 (almost 7) and acts exactly the same way. And it's such a shock, since my son (who is 9) is sweet, and thoughtful, and compliant. And he would never say the things his sister does.

Where does it come from?

I laughed at "That was so 5 hours ago, Mommy!"


Anonymous said...

Made her get water and clear the dishes - OMG - I think we need to call social services on/for you ;P

Forget divorce - go ahead and give her another option that will truly terrify her. Explain to her about sending her to foster care and especially how social services will take only her and not her books, clothes, kitties, and other necessities of life that YOU - her mother have provided. If you need tips or pointers how to deliver such news for maximum potential we have an aunt who used this tact with amazing effect. ;>

Of course you know that the whole teenager thing is one reason that I'm terrified of having my own offspring. Then again, you'll probably get time off by sending a teen Caitlin to hang out with her senile auntie in NY.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I know exactly where you are. Listen to me. Do not explain anything anymore. She has regressed from being a rational creature to being a 2-year-old. I know, I know, she's getting older, and certainly she has a right to voice her opinions and ask "Why?" to something she doesn't understand, right? Wrong! There is nothing you can say that will make her say, "Oh, I see now, Mommy - you were right all along! How could I have been so blind?"

No one knows why kids (and particularly girls) start acting this way. It is not your fault. Just make it clear that it will not fly. Check out

for a humorous take on handling this behavior. E-mail me for all the nightmarish details of what happens when you try to understand it. I haven't told the half of it in my blog. But, above all else, nip it in the bud so your life doesn't turn into a living hell.

I'm rooting for you!

ellen said...

I hate to agree with all these lovely people but my little angel was like that around the same age. Hannah would tell me she didn't love me, she wouldn't give me hugs or kisses either. I was trying so hard not to take it personally, like what I had done wrong as a mother. I think it's about power. She has the power to make you react just like she wants you to. It so hard not to give her the reaction she wants too.

I had tried talking to her about how much she hurt mommy's feeling to no avail. After a while I'd just shrug when she didn't want a hug and I'd tell her I loved her very much even if she was nasty to me. Hannah finally just stopped over time.

Missy said...

I might have some advice, but first I have to stop banging my head against the nearest concrete object after my own mind boggling encounter with the soon to be 7 year old in my own house.

Elaine A. said...

No great advice, just an "I'm so with ya sister!" My son is getting a little older (4 next week) but he can still throw some doozies (is that a real word?) and was quite the fit-thrower early in his 3rd year. I really think 3 is actually worse than 2.

Just try to keep your cool, I KNOW it's SO HARD sometimes though...

Scylla said...

I love you, and she will eventually stop taking out her sibling jealousy on you.

You are the safe target. She is secure enough in your love for her that she can tell you flat out that she wishes you harm, wants to hurt you, wants you to leave. She knows you will still love her.

Just keep it in your head that maybe she is pushing this just to make absolutely sure that you do, certain that the twins didn't change it, that you still love her, even when she is an asshole.

I love you.

Red Flashlight said...

Remember the old adage, "I'm not your friend, I'm your mother." Very true, and it's a two-way street. She's not your friend, either. She needs you too much for that. You don't have the equal footing that friendships should have.

Remember when it was just the three of you? Caitlin, Mommy, and Daddy? It's not like that anymore, and she can't count on your constant attention anymore. But she can still get your attention by being naughty. It's a dark, dark path for a kid to go down. "If I'm rude / obnoxious / smelly / cruel I can be the center of attention." That's what this is about. It's not about you, and honestly, I don't think she's "trying to hurt you" in the way that you imagine. She's just desperate for your attention and she knows she can get it by pretending she wants to hurt you. And since she's just a kid, she can't be expected to be responsible with the relationship. Just like Scylla said, Caitlin thinks you're a safe target and doesn't yet realize the terrible consequences of making an enemy of you.

I'm not saying you 'should spend more quality time with her.' Obviously, you're already doing that.

And I can't say what a good mommy would do - I don't have kids. But I was a kid once, an observer watching a train wreck in my living room. And I know what bad mommy would do - bad mommy would allow herself to become emotionally involved in an emotional war. Bad mommy would react without stepping back and collecting her thoughts first. Bad mommy was dependent on her kids to reassure her that she was a good mommy.

You're way too rational for that.

alessa said...

Hey girl,

When my nephew had to share my sister's attention with a needy dog, he was SOOO jealous of not being the only object of her devotion. When Gabe came along, Angus kept wanting to visit the midwife who delivered his younger brother. When Tanya asked why, Angus said, "So we can take him back." Then, later, he said he wanted God to take his brother back home. Sigh. Now he has a little sister to contend with as well. I think being in school has helped, but he still likes to push Gabe around, when he isn't running around like a mad child.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Hello everyone! I'm back. Thank you all for your thoughtful remarks.

Wow. So is it an almost 7 thing or is it a girl thing? Some of the boys seem to be going through the same thing, but everyone here has responded with girls.

Jennifer: Does that mean I may have hope of Logan not doing this stuff to me later?

Dawn: Selena told which of us this? Dawn, lemme tell you this: DON'T have kids unless you REALLY want them. I think everyone should walk into this with their eyes open. Blogs are good for telling the unvarnished truth.

SC: WHAT?! She's not going to admit I'm right?! Dang it! I'll have a look at Dr. Ray in a bit. It's SO HARD not to lecture and/or explain. SO! HARD!

Ellen: Not Hannah! She seems all sweet. They're tricky, those kids.

Missy: I've read your entry on Ignoring. Will try. Where's the head banging post?

Elaine: Three IS worse than two. Four is, in its own way, somewhat worse than three. It's the ability to voice their obnoxiousness instead of just throwing themselves around. Saucy behavior.

Misty: Safe target. Secure in my love. Um...a good? sign. Um. Will repeat as needed. Otherwise I'm going to ship her to YOU!

Red: I'm trying not to be a trainwreck. But I don't ask for reassurance from HER that I'm a good mommy or her friend. Excellent reminder, though.

Alessa: No returns. No refunds. No exchanges. Except maybe for a pony.

Thanks ladies!

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