The whole concept of this blog centers around all the times I call my mom to tell her about the funny, annoying, exhausting and downright ridiculous parts of my life. However, the main theme in most of my calls to her involves "I'm Sorry."
I remember a good portion of my childhood and I know full-well, that I was a typical little girl, followed by adolescent, followed by teenager and well, you get the picture. I am the youngest of three children and the only girl. I whined, I cried, I threw temper tantrums when I didn't get what I wanted. I didn't understand the concept of sharing my toys because my brothers never cared much about my Strawberry Shortcake house or Barbies (unless of course they were popping their heads off.) Worst of all I was dramatic, stubborn and bossy.
Fast forward to today and my daughter, Madelyn and well, ain't payback a bitch? I joke that she and I are already developing a tumultuous mother-daughter relationship at an early age. It all started the day she was born, really. I looked at my beautiful daughter and investigated her every feature. She was so delicate. Those tiny fingers and tiny toes...and then BAM! There IT was. The "Boss Toe."
You know, when the second toe is longer than the big toe? The medical term for this condition is "Morton's Toe" and it could cause a lot of pain and discomfort as well as foot problems. All I know is that it means you are going to be the "boss of your family." I know this, because I have the same toe.
I've always tried to think of myself not so much as bossy, but more of a leader. The responsible one who can take care of things that need to be taken care of. But, who am I kidding? I am quite simply a bossy know-it-all and can truly appreciate this aspect of my personality better because I have created a little clone of myself.
When it comes to playing with friends, she goes back and forth between leading the poor neighbor girl around front yard telling her what to do, to following random girls around at the playground desperate for them to notice her and play with her. She takes great delight in meeting "new friends."
We have been trying desperately to teach Madelyn to always say "Please and Thank You" since she was a baby. Before she could talk, she did it sign language. Now that she talks (and boy does she talk!), we insist she ask for things politely. Instead, it goes something like this:
Madelyn: Get me some milk!
Me: What do you say?
Me: How about you start over and ask the right way...Please may I have some milk?
Madelyn: Please have I may some more milk?
But 20 minutes later, she will yell "I want crackers!"
And the list goes on and on
"Mom, I'm awake!" When she gets up in the morning. Despite the fact she is in a "big girl bed" and has the ability to get in and out, she will not get out until I come get her.
"Mom, I'm done going potty!"
"Where's my food?"
"Turn my show on!"
I am, for all intents and purposes, an indentured servant.
Now, she is picking up on several sayings that I know full well she has picked up from me.
Like, "OK, here's the deal. You put Colin to bed and then I can get ready for bed and come back downstairs for a little while."
Or my favorite was the other day when we were taking down the Christmas tree. I told her if she found "the Pickle" I would give her a treat. She was pulling of ornaments and garland like there was no tomorrow and for the most part was being "helpful." However, she was getting a little over-zealous and I was worried she was going to break something. I kept trying to distract her with the pickle hunt so I could finish without her breaking something. She finally said, "Mom, will you chill out. I will find the pickle. OK?"
Oh, sweet Jesus. Did my baby girl just say that?
When our little arguments about whether or not she will go potty, eat her dinner, or get moving so we can leave the house, get heated I always remind her that "I am the boss" and she quickly retorts, "No, I am the boss."
At least she is willing to share "the boss" duty with me when it comes to reprimanding Colin. He was getting in to trouble the other day and she was right next to me telling him to "get off of the dog!" and informed me that both she and I were the boss.
I am fairly certain that little girls develop some sort of "cycle" early on, because her, shall we say "bitch factor" intensifies every couple of weeks. And let me just say, she needs a good dose of Midol this week. It all started on Tuesday when I met a friend at Monkey Joes (one of those bouncy places). She immediately found a new friend and they played nicely together for the whole time we were there. From there we went to McDonald's and somehow she convinced me to go into the Playland. After noticing the Nintendo game console located in the Playland that Colin was licking was crusted with about 10 years of grime, I decided we had enough germs for one day. I told her she had one more minute. Finally, Maddie came down from the tubes and said she didn't want to leave and then noticed the video game too. There was already a girl on the game and Maddie went into full meltdown mode. It was like a scene from the Exorcist and I don't know if anyone else saw it, but I swear her head spun. I hauled out the serious "Mom Voice" got down close to her face and told her to knock it off and that we were leaving. I clinched my jaw and talked through my teeth like all the best moms do. I tried not to raise my voice, but despite this, I could feel everyone staring at me. Oh, come on. Judge me if you want, ladies, but you all know full well you've had to surgically remove your kid from the tube/slide apparatus at some point in your life. Somehow I got her into the car despite the kicking and screaming and strapped in her in her car seat. I sat at the steering wheel and just took a deep breath. Thank God for nap time.
Then yesterday, she made up for it by being a good girl all day. Then came the after-dinner fizzle. This the time of day where I have the hardest time keeping things under control. They are both a combination of wound up and tired and I need to find something to do to occupy them until bedtime. Longest 3 hours of my life, especially since Tom is only around for about an hour of that time.
Maddie was using her new notepad with lines on it intended for practicing her letters. I showed her the sample of D'Nealian Alphabet and she immediately picked up on the fact that there were two "o's" her favorite letter. I tried to explain to her the difference between upper and lower case and attempted to show her on the paper. She threw a fit and said "NO, NO, NO! I am trying to do something!!!"
Five minutes later she was cutting a piece of paper and I noticed she was cutting with her thumb down. Her teacher had noted this during our conference, so I tried to correct her. More push-back.
Ok, fine. I backed off. I tried to tell her that I was merely trying to teach her something and if she didn't let people help her learn, she would flunk out of Preschool. Over exaggerating? Oh yeah. Tom got home and tried to help her with her letter writing skills, and he saw first hand what I had just experienced.
Then came some "quiet time" on the couch. Maddie was playing with her new Leapster and I offered to help her play games so she could "unlock" more colors on the sketch pad. Hard to explain, but let's just say, once again, she didn't want any help what-so-ever and it ended with her and I playing tug-o-war with the effing Leapster. I finally ripped it from her clutches before the stylise was yanked from it's cord and sent her up stairs for bath and bed. Even Tom raised his voice at her (which rarely happens) and from there she was in hysterics. I plopped her on the pot and she proceeded to cry so hard she puked.
More sobbing, more tears and finally she settled down and said she was sorry, without prompting, to both Tom and I. I felt better about my "flunking out of Preschool" comment when Tom told me he talked to her and said if she acted that way she wouldn't have any friends.
Bedtime could not come soon enough and by the time I had her feetsie jammies on her she was calm and loving. We made up and I reminded her that when I try to tell her things, it is almost always to help her. I also reminded her of the "Golden Rule" and that she should treat others the way she wants to be treated. She smiled nodded and gave me a hug.
I have a feeling I am in for a long road with this child. If 3 years old is this hard, I can only imagine what 13 will be like. I can only hope she finds a nice, patient man like her father to put up with her the way he puts up with me.