"Can I call her when I finish my homework?" she
"After homework." I replied.
After homework, she called. Well, I called, because she is shy on the phone and I have done her a deal that if I have to call her friends now, I get to do all the talking to her friends when she is a teenager also.
It was engaged.
Five minutes later, we called again. There was no answer.
"We have to go grocery shopping," I told her.
"But I want to play with Girl-down-the-road."
"But they are not answering, so maybe the had things to do also."
We tried the phone again before leaving, but again no answer.
We shopped. We had a great time shopping, and I managed to spend $200 without even raising a sweat.
As we finished, I said "Guess what 'Salina?"
"I love you."
"I know that Mum."
"I know, but it never hurts to have a few spare I love yous up your sleeve."
She was greatly embarrassed by her mother. "Can I call Girl-down-the-road when we get home?"
"Sure, but its late so there will be no play together today."
She pondered that on the 5 minute trip home.
When we got home, I asked her to open the garage door.
Unfortunately, sweet 'Salina had disappeared and the 'Salina monster had taken her seat - I hadn't even noticed the switch.
"Excuse me?" as in "who are you and what have you done with my daughter?"
"I DON'T FEEL LIKE IT."
That one moment in time multiplied 35 times over the next 35 minutes. Now, I will let you in on a little secret - I don't deal so well with a monster child, and sometimes a monster mother taps me on the shoulder and offers her style of parenting. I try my best to ignore the advice, but sometimes she just shoves the sweet Jeanie-mother off her perch of righteousness and gets down and snarls back. Not found in any parenting manual, but easily as effective as the sweet style when dealing with 'Salina in a mood.
As in it is of no help whatsoever.
The worst bit is that I know EXACTLY how 'Salina feels. I have hit that black spot when your mood just gets black and bleak and if you are going to be feeling obnoxious its good to share the feeling around. And where you KNOW you are digging yourself into a hole so you just start shovelling harder. Where life just IS NOT fair.
And the worster bit is now I know EXACTLY how my mother felt. Sorry Mum.
I did suck up all my sweet spirits and try to jolly her out of it a bit when she hadn't picked up her mess (as asked), hadn't had her bath (as asked), hadn't been a little more cheerful (as asked) and had instead CHOSEN to slam a few doors, hide under her covers and weep at the injustices of her world.
"Honey," I said sweetly, "lets look at a few ways you could make this situation a little better."
Grunt. Roll. PUT PILLOW OVER HEAD SO SHE COULDN'T HEAR ME.
I gently took the pillow away. "Sweetheart, I know its hard, but you are only making things worse for yourself."
Sniffle. Grunt. Roll. PULL SHEETS OVER HEAD SO SHE COULDN'T HEAR ME.
Sweet me got shoved aside and those covers got ripped back.
"Listen, little miss. You are really digging yourself into a hole here, and UNLESS YOU START CHOSING better behaviour, YOU HAVE ONLY YOURSELF TO BLAME for having a CRAPPY evening."
I walked out, mainly because I knew I was not going to solve anything with either personality and because I suddenly needed a stiff drink and a large distance between the devil I had spawned and the devil I was becoming.
It did all end well, by the way. She came and did a little public crying, wouldn't tell us what was wrong, got ignored and sobbed as she set the table unasked before she went and bathed. By dinner she was a tired but much pleasanter child.
When I tucked her in bed later, I had a talk to her.
"I know you were upset about something, but you won't tell us and now it doesn't matter. Because you chose to behave that way its now about your behaviour, not the underlying reason. You were upset you didn't get to play with Girl-down-the-road this afternoon, but now you won't get to play with Girl-down-the-road for a week - pretty silly hey?"
"So, did you get to use that spare 'I love you' that I gave you earlier?"
Now to work out my own punishment for my behaviour...