Lately I have really been struggling with Emma. She has these really annoying opinions..about everything. She is going through a phase where she only wants to wear dresses, which is just fine I guess, but she doesn't always want to wear tights with said dresses and don't even think about trying to convince her that it would be a good idea to wear a shirt underneath a sleeveless jumper. What are you, insane? The struggles begin when she wakes up and pretty much don't end until bedtime. Here are the things we argue about:
1. Brushing her hair (specifically we argue about when, where and how to accomplish this task)
2. Brushing her teeth (this requires a special cup and sink very nearby to spit into. If the sink is not close enough then she will spit wherever she happens to be standing and this will require a change of clothes and a fresh discussion about how one can't wear a sleeveless dress with bare legs in 20-degree weather).
3. Whose turn it is to use the computer (mine or hers)
4. What to eat for breakfast
5. What to eat for lunch
6. What to eat for snack
7. How to pass the hours we are stuck at home during Charlie's nap (which leads to a debate about why you can't play computer games for 2 hours straight...why can't you do this again?)
8. What to eat for dinner
9. Why she can't have more ice cream for dessert
10. Why she can't have more bubbles in her tub
11. Why she can't wear "Olivia's nightgown" (her cousin's hand-me-down nightgown is her absolute favorite and all she wants to sleep in lately), which is currently in the dirty clothes.
12. Why she can't read three books before bedtime. (We have a 2-book limit at our house. I think if we had a 3-book limit then we would be arguing about why we can't read 4 books.)
13. How to properly adjust her covers for bedtime
And just when you think you're done for the day and you're closing the door to the kids' bedroom and tempted to high-five your husband because it is finally all over for the day, she is popping her head out of the door and asking you to re-adjust her covers, please, and do it the right way this time.
Am I a terrible mother for being frustrated with this situation? I know that I need to be more patient, more understanding of her needs, more selfless, and less forceful when it comes to pushing my own agenda. I need to be proud that she has a will of her own. But I also worry that she is taking over this household, that she is becoming Queen Emma and we must bow down to her or suffer her wrath. I don't really want to live like that. I want to be Queen Mommy and have everyone bow down to me or suffer my wrath. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?
What should I do? Give in? Let her have her way? Or should I be Mean Mommy all the time and show her who's boss? Right now I'm probably doing some sort of combo of the two of these and so the poor kids don't ever know who they're dealing with. I hate being Mean Mommy, but sometimes I actually convince myself that Mean Mommy is not just being mean for being mean's sake, but is actually teaching everyone a lesson here, so you can either do what I say or park that bottom in time out. This is a page from the you-better-stop-crying-or-I'll-give-you-something-to-cry-about school of parenting. Is that really the solution here? I hate Mean Mommy and I think everyone else does too.
So what's a Mommy to do? What is the answer? Anyone have any ideas?
I feel terrible writing about my best girlfriend Emma this way, but I need some answers. I'm sure if she had a blog of her own (which, I guess it's just a matter of time until that happens) she would have plenty of things to say about me and my less-than-stellar parenting moments. We don't need to talk about those right now though. We're talking about Emma and how to fix her and this giant personality of hers. This is the same personality that draws people to her like magnets. I am always amazed at the effect Emma has on other kids. They think she is the coolest. She can walk into any room, no matter if it's the child care place at the gym, her Sunday School class at church or the DMV, and the room adjusts to fit her. It's like the energy in the room rearranges itself to accommodate this dynamic little 3-foot-tall person that just walked in and claimed the space as her own. Mean Mommy's got nothing on that.