Monday, May 28, 2012

The Birthday Party, that Nearly Wasn't...

This past weekend, I had Miss Madelyn's 7th birthday party. I just about didn't have one... I'm not going to sugar coat things... When Madelyn is at her best, she can be sweet as apple pie [with ice cream on top and perhaps even a drizzle of caramel] But when she is not at her best.... she can be downright awful.

Lately, more often than not, it seems we've been dealing with awful... I'm sure it's a combination of a number of things. We're heading into the last month of school and perhaps the long days have taken their toll. Maybe she's ready to 'be done' for the year. I know she's trying to push boundaries... [though if the truth be told, she's been doing that since she was in the womb]

She is a lovely, strong-willed, little girl, who has many qualities that are going to serve her well in her walk of life. Those very same qualities are the ones we struggle with as parents. It's good that she questions things. It's good that she has her own ideas about what she does and doesn't want to do. It's good that she can't be swayed once she's made up her mind...  It's good that she is her own person, and doesn't care what others think... Like I say, that's going to be great as she gets older. But living here, in our family, with her Mum and Dad trying to set boundaries... It's often a battle. For example, I don't want to have argue, fight, beg and plead for my child to get dressed on Saturday morning. I simply want to say, "Please go get dressed" and have the answer be "Okay, Mum". And it seems like such a simple thing... Some might think, what's the big deal, let her have a jammie day... But it's every day. Over EVERY thing... That was simply one example. It's about getting out of bed on a school morning ["No - I'm not going to school today] It's about what to have for breakfast ["Nothing... I'm not eating breakfast today"] It's about getting dressed for school ["No. I'm not getting dressed for school today"] It's after school when we have to take Mason to swim club ["No. I don't want to go"] So you can see how the battle might begin, because here's the thing... You ARE going to school. You ARE going to have something for breakfast. You are NOT wearing your jammies to school. You HAVE to come with me while I leave the house for an hour and a half... This isn't arguing about whether or not to put her hair up or leave it down... These are things that ARE going to happen... Whether she likes it or not.

I'm not going to say that I'm a terrific Mum and have all the answers... I don't. This child just turned 7 years old, and I still don't know what works, or how to get a situation from escalating once it starts.  I do however, know what some of her triggers are, so I do my best to work around them. I can often make her do things my way, without her knowing that she's doing things my way... I have gotten pretty good at making things seem like they're 'her' idea... Because if it's her idea it's great. If it's not, it's usually not so great. And even though I've learned how to do this, that isn't how things work in the real world.

Let's face it. As adults we don't always like what we have to do, but we still have to do it. We learn this in school at a very young age, that we have a teacher that we clash with, but the work still has to be done. The same thing happens at extra curricular things, where maybe we don't love the coach, but tough... That's who we're stuck with. Then we enter the work force and we've all come across someone there, that we don't get along or agree with, but your hands are tied behind your back and you do what you're told to... So I can't see that making everything seem like it's Madelyn's idea is going to work out well for her in the long run... 

Sheesh... All this, to talk about a birthday party, that nearly wasn't... I'm not an awful Mum... But I really felt that Madelyn didn't deserve a birthday party this year... Then I began to feel guilty about it...[you know who you are ;-)] So I broke down and planned a party.

We had a mermaid theme. I didn't do the 'Ariel' theme. We finally watched the Little Mermaid movie, and she was smitten with the idea of mermaids, which pleased me very much.  

I also didn't stress over this party the way I have for past parties... I didn't decorate like crazy... I didn't have a bunch of mermaid themed food to offer [though I found tons of awesome ideas on Pinterest] I didn't come up with a bunch of mermaid games... Heck, I didn't even make a cake... In the long run, it was great. Everything ran smoothly. We did a jelly fish craft, which the girls put way more time and effort in that I thought they would. We had mini pizzas for dinner, and I had fresh veggies and fruit on the table. The girls watched the movie, ate popcorn, had licorice. We had to turn the last bit of the movie off actually, in order to eat cake and open presents.

So, the party that nearly wasn't, was a big hit. And yes, after all the party guest left she came and thanked me for having her birthday party. To which I told her she was welcome and make sure she thanked Ama as well.

But if I was hoping that she'd be thankful and appreciative for a very long time, I was disappointed, it was short lived. Last night at bedtime, she told me that she wished she lived in a different family, and that we were all mean to her and never let her do anything she wanted to do.. This was because it was bedtime, we asked her to put jammies on. As you know, now at bedtime, its not dark. So why SHOULD she go to bed? It's still light outside. I'm NOT going to bed!

And, the fight ensues... After she finally stomped up the stairs to her bedroom, she muttered "I don't want to see you again." and something along the lines of  I'm going to sleep with a kitchen knife under my pillow. Yes... she said that. That was NOT apple pie Madelyn was it? No... That was the little girl I just rewarded with a birthday party for her unacceptable behavior...

I had no idea parenting would be this challenging...

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

okay. i'm sorry for you. dealing with that day in and day out is TOUGH. but i have to say in my inside voice "yay!" another mum out there dealing with some of the things I do! I'm not alone! Max told me he was going to kick me in the face yesterday. sweet little guy that he is. chin up my friend. one day we'll miss their little bodies in our houses as we sit on the back deck drinking margaritas reminiscing about the good old days! Right? We will, right?