Wednesday, November 05, 2008

On Purpose

I had an interesting evening with the Bear this evening. It was a long night for the whole family, and by the time we got home at 7, we were pretty beat. But she was sassing me, being obnoxious to her little sister, grouchy, etc. She is Little Miss Sunshine when she's sleepy. I have about zero tolerance for this kind of crap, especially after a day spent with Other People's kids, and a night spent talking to Other People about their kids. Hell no.

So, after their bath, I tell her to lay down on her towel for the ceremonial lotion ritual. Always the same, every time. We've been doing this the same way since she was born. She likes it. I like it. Anyway, she rolls over and curls up in a ball. I say, Bear, get ready for lotion. She sticks out an arm. I say no. She sticks out her face. I say no. She sticks out her butt. I say no. Lotion always starts at the legs and feet. No other way, ever. I say, fine, if you can't be bothered to do as I ask, go to bed with no lotion on.

Oh, the crying. Full-on sobbing. Wailing and gnashing of teeth. BUT I'LL GET DRY SKIN! she wails. MY SKIN WILL HURT IF IT GETS DRY! she cries. I say, tough. You don't do as I ask, you don't get what you want. The End.

More screaming. More crying. I say, fine. If you can't stop screaming and crying, you can't have a bedtime story with us. You'll have to go to bed with no story.

Well, no lotion and no story? I am Cruella DeVil herself.

So, she gets no story, and her sister does, but she stops crying when I floss her teeth and then let her play with the floss. As we're getting into bed, she starts to cry again.

Mommy, I was doing it on purpose.

Doing what on purpose?

I knew what you wanted, and I didn't do it, on purpose. I was not-doing it on purpose.

Well, Bear, I'm glad you told me that. I forgive you. I'm sorry I yelled at you. Will you forgive me?

::tears, hugs::

Still crying. Bear, what's going on? Why still crying?

I love you. I like to tell you the truth.

I love you too, baby. And I hope you'll always want to tell me the truth. It makes me feel very happy when you tell me the truth about things. And I'll try to always tell you the truth.

::more tears::

But I did it on purpose!

I know, but I forgive you. All done. No biggie. We're family. That's what family does.

This is not a family! We have no Daddy! It can't be a family without a Daddy!

Whoa, back up there, kid. We are indeed a family. Daddy is your family, too. Family means lots of different things.

On and on, round and round we went - truth, forgiveness, doing things on purpose, loving each other, being a family. This kind of stuff is just so exhausting. Some day I'm going to invent a kid that brings itself up.

In my head, this was a very important conversation. Here, it looks ridiculously mundane and kind of pointless. I don't know. My kid acts out on purpose, but then wants to tell me the truth about it and be forgiven. Does anybody care about this shit but me? I don't know, but now at least I have today's post done.


Anonymous said...

she is testing you to see if she misbehaves you will abandon her. She thinks if she does something wrong you will leave. give her heaps of oportunity to make mistakes and then see that you do not leave. Role play it. Then you do something naughty (role play) and ask her if she will still stay with you. This is a very important time. She must be taught that her love with you is different to that you ahd with your husband.

Julie said...

Oh, God, that's so hard. I know, I KNOW, that standing firm is the right thing to do when they test us that way. Then they actually seem to get the lesson being taught, and their remorse just does me in. Wait! Go back to being a little shit! Mommy would rather be mad at you than see you cry!