Friday, May 16, 2008

Yesterday (all my troubles...)

Yesterday, 'Salina hopped off the bus with Girl-down-the-road full of beans.

"Can I call her when I finish my homework?" she hollered asked.

"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?"

"What?"

"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.

"NO."

"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?"

"Yes Mummy."

"So, did you get to use that spare 'I love you' that I gave you earlier?"

Yes.

Now to work out my own punishment for my behaviour...

15 comments:

Jen at Semantically driven said...

I know all too much about the monster mother!

Jayne said...

The monster mother has almost been euthanised here but occasionally she makes a last bid from her death bed.
Tis hard but the only way we've found to deal with the monster child is to laugh at them - it's infectious and soon they're laughing back...about 7 out of 10 times.

Alison said...

Oh my gosh Jeanie, I LOVE the idea of having spare "I love you's" up ones sleeve.
Glad the monsters have gone again.

Lin said...

lol Jeanie, what a wonderful description of a situation that - I know from experience - is enough to turn any mother to strong spirits.

My girl is a lot younger of course and no doubt a lot less creative in these matters. My technique to keep monster mummy in her cage is to say: "You can cry if that's what you choose to do. Totally your choice." The immediate response is usually: "I DON'T WANT TO CRY ANYMORE!" said in a crying voice.

I have also started to laugh at her and sometimes just pat her on the head and say jokingly: "There, there little baby."

But sometimes monster mummy doesn't even give me a chance to try some of my more positive, cheerful techniques. Sometimes she's just too darn fast!

JaniceNW said...

You can't blog with the girls across the world...........snicker. Sorry just could not stop myself. At least your daighter still has a rational side......my boys left rational years ago.

jeanie said...

As V reported to 'Salina the advice of "laugh at her", I have been advised to give you her reply:

"ARMGHGHGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRE"

It has been tried and its true - that is what her response is.

Jen - monster mother used to have dinner with us often, now she only comes out once in a while.

Jayne - you know your 3/10 stats? Here, try 10/10 for the above response.

Alison - hugs and kisses also have no use by and can be stored.

Lin - she is sneaky woman, that monster mum, isn't she?

Oh Janice - that is a big punishment suitable only for - I don't know - actually carrying out the threat of sending her to boarding school. I have been told rational can make a reappearance in the 20s, although its not a guarantee.

alice said...

Lordy I love motherhood.

debby said...

The hardest thing to do is to stay rational in the midst of a fine temper tantrum. But if you can take a deep breath and do that even 75% of the time, you're doing well. No mom is perfect, and really, the tantrum thing is just a test. (this is only a test. Had this been a real emergency, you'd have seen blood) DO NOT LAUGH AT HER. It only makes matters worse. Listen impassively if you can. If she hasn't got a valid point, tell her. And then don't waver. Best thing to do is leave the room. An unwitnessed tantrum is pointless. If she follows you, send her to her room. And let her scream bloody murder if she wants. After a while, she'll get over it, and then you can have a talk. This being said, I can also readily recount the times that I handled things in the way that I didn't want to, just because I was tired, or stressed, or whatever.

mommamia said...

The monster mother is fed by monster children. The more they feed her the more likely she is to appear.

Cathy said...

I loved this post!! You described it so well.

tiff said...

Ah yes, the monster mother. That not so friendly woman who looks like me but abandons all reason when she sees red. I know her well.
Does a stiff drink work because sometimes it's really hard to put out the monster mother's fire, in this house, when the monster children come out to play.

Hugs. I think you handled it all very well.

Melody said...

*heehee*

The Mother Monster makes an appearance around here once in a while too! You'd have to be lying if you were a mother without a monster lurking within you...or your child for that matter! LOL!!

Kelley said...

My monster was nearly slayed this afternoon. After much gnashing of jaws it is in it's room sulking.

Status Quo maintained.

They get worse as they get older, natures way of helping us cut the apron strings and not their jugulars.

jeanie said...

Alice - I love being a mother, even at those moments. Wouldn't trade it. Well, I would trade those moments for some good chocolate.

Debby - another good one I learned along the way is to not raise your voice as they have to listen harder.

mommamia - so true.

Cathy - from you, very high praise!

Thanks tiff. The drink doesn't really help except to dull the senses. Both good and bad in one glass. (Mind you, my stiff drink is my rough red)

melody - you know it and I know it - but there are some in the world who would disagree.

Kelley - I love your analogy.

Queen of Shake-Shake said...

I have a monster mommy in me too. I'm always confused whether I should ignore the dramatic cries and door slamming or become the monster mommy.

If only I hadn't lost my instruction manual...