When it comes to my children, I tend to paint a pretty picture. And that's probably because they amaze me every single day. Oh sure, there are the usual annoyances (Yes, she can have her own toy even if you think its yours based soley on your desire for it to be so....) and the usual Mom phrases flying around (I try not to do the 'because I said so thing' not because I'm upright or hip, but because it's not enough words and I like words. A lot.)
Anyhoo, most of the time I only have nice, positive things to say about my children, but there's one in particular who is DRIVING ME TO THE EFFIN BRINK OF INSANITY right now. (Notice the caps. That's to convey how very much I want to scream, but hold back so as not to forever harm the self-esteem of this particular child) Thankfully this child isn't a first child so I know this will pass. I've dealt with this particular brand of insanity a time or two before, but my Lord, why is it so hard with this one? Maybe because her personality is SO BIG. She's very articulate and perfectionist which is all fine and dandy when she's doing her chores or schoolwork with precision, but not too much fun when that translates to be a *perfectly* perfect pain in the ass.
Lest you think I am being overly dramatic, let me hand over some fine examples of conversations that have happened over the past 30 minutes in my home (and remember, there are 24 hours in one day, only 8 of which are alloted for sleep, so technically we have 16 hours times two since this is a HALF hour's sample, in which to experience these little nuggets of delight...NOT)
Fine Example One:
Mom: So really all we need for your costume is regular clothes and a bunch of safety pins.
Hellchild: Well I really want a new dress for the costume
Mom: With what you are planning with all those pins, you'd be a whole lot more comfortable in a shirt and pants.
Hellchild: Great, I'm not even allowed to pick my OWN COSTUME.
(Head to desk. Dude, just trying to help because let me tell you what, when her clothing of choice gets annoying it will be all my fault somehow, someway. I am sure it will be all "You should have MADE me wear what you wanted, but you LET ME go out in the outfit I decided was life or death important to wear, so therefore you are a crappy Mom and have let me down in such a way that I shall never, ever function in normal society.)
Fine Example Two:
Mom: Have you completed your Focus chore?
Hellchild: You told me to clean out my school basket. I was doing that. (While screwing around doing neither her chore or cleaning her school basket)
Mom: You aren't doing either of those things, and I only asked you to clean out your school basket because I assumed you were done with your focus chore already. You've had enough time to do that. If I catch you again doing anything besides these two things, you are going to be in trouble.
Hellchild: Well if I can't do ANYTHING besides those two things I guess I can't READ what my focus chore IS for today, so I can't do it.
(Oh my, kill me now. Stick my head in the toilet and hit the flush button, or at the very least move the clock forward a few hours so I can drink a pint of something mind numbing without feeling like a raving alcoholic. Seriously)
Fine Example Three:
Hellchild rustling through craft drawers looking for a glue gun. NotHellChild exclaims "Dude, seriously I've been looking for that thing for like a month," and not in a nasty tone in a "I totally understand your frustration because I've been looking for it too..." tone and this is how the rest of the conversation went:
Hellchild: Nastily mocking everything older sister has just said.
Mom: Dude, I am standing right here. Why do you think you are allowed to speak to your sister like that?
Hellchild: She's being nasty TO ME and you're just LETTING her.
Mom: What? She's not being nasty to you. She's agreeing that it's frustrating not being able to find the glue gun.
Hellchild: Repeats everything her sister just said (because you know her sister saying it, and then her saying it back didn't give me a real clear idea of what was said....) but with a huge twist in tone that made it appear her sister was obviously Satan-Incarnate-Holder-Of-The-Glue-Gun.
Mom: You know she didn't say it like that, seriously, come on.
Hellchild: She talks to me like that ALL THE TIME and you don't do ANYTHING about.
Mom: Uhm, really? I just let y'all talk to each other like that right? Why then am I correcting you right now?
Hellchild: Because she does it behind your back and you don't care.
Mom: If that was the case I would hope you would come and talk to me about it, but I've never heard her talk like that. Ever. And furthermore, if you know it's wrong enough to tattle now, then you know that it's wrong for you to. If it's wrong, it's wrong. If you know that, you should know better than to speak that way.
Hellchild: So what you're saying is it's okay for HER to talk like that...but not me.
(Her favorite line of all time is "So what you're saying is...." and then twisting the entire conversation, in stunning precision, to make her look like a victim of some evil plot to ruin her life....)
In this child's world EVERYONE is ALWAYS trying to piss her off. NO ONE EVER gets in trouble expect her. It will take FOREVER to get anywhere, or do anything she wants. Extremes. Total extremes and let me tell you what, it's exhausting.
Sometimes I wonder about her. I really do. I hate that she feels so victimized by every day occurences. That she feels singled out when in reality it's the very idea that she's NOT singled out that's pissing her off (I don't play favorites here, everyone is expected to respect the other people in this house...) and she would like to live among the land of exception, rather than the rule.
These are those parenting crap shoots where you really have to believe that, in the end, you can only take so much responsibility for how someone turns out. They have to take the tools you give them and either let them become useful in their lives, making something great with what they have been given, or let those tools rust (and blame someone else for leaving them out in the rain)...
I've been in this place before. I secretely looked up boarding schools for an older sibling when I was convinced my parenting skills were sorely lacking and in order to keep older sibling from ending up on my couch at 40 years old I needed some help. This older sibling is now an amazing young man who I like more than I like most people my age. Funny, responsible, giving, charming...(insert other positive traits at will) and I look back on that hellish time and think "Okay, if HE can change from that to this,...it's too early to lose hope..."
And hope I shall. By the end of this day, Hellchild will do or say something amazing that will restore my confidence in the whole Turning Out Okay thing I am shooting for.
So yeah, not all ducks and bunnies here all the time. Sometimes there's a little tasmanian devil action thrown in, just to keep things interesting. If by interesting, you realize I mean "bat shit crazy."