I haven’t posted in a while… it’s been fairly hectic around here. Jess has been going thru a stage that basically involved a lot of tears. Over everything. It was insanely frustrating – because I was completely clueless on how to handle it. On the one hand, I want to be supportive and loving and always available for her to tell me her problems. But on the other hand, I didn’t want to be feeding into the drama (once she literally cried because her ceiling was white). She was falling into the habit of declaring every day to be the worst one in her life, and coming home and listing out all of the ways in which her life sucked. And crying about it.
And it’s draining. For me, anyway. Because when she’s upset, I’m upset, and it freaked me out that she was so unhappy. About nothing. There wasn’t really anything major going on that I could tell. She was doing well in school, if anything, she seemed to be suffering from too many friends. I was stalking her teacher, calling the guidance counsellor, talking to the pediatrician because I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to handle her emotions. I didn’t like sending her to her room to cry, but mostly, that’s what we did. Because when I put any energy at all into it, it just got worse, she got more dramatic and more intense about it. So I’d tell her that I loved her and wanted to hear about her problems, but that she had to be able to do it without crying and ship her into the bedroom. Which would immediately result in tears and stomping and door slamming, which just made me mad, leading to her getting more upset. It was a vicious, draining, infuriating cycle and while we’re not out of the woods yet, the past three days have gotten a lot better. She’s gone to school without a problem, and the afternoons are, not perfect, but she seems to be on a more stable emotional plateau.
Jess is a complicated girl. She’s so bright, and so intense, emotionally, that I think it’s legitimately hard sometimes to be her. It’s certainly hard to be her mother at times. She wants so badly to be independent, picking out her own clothes and going to bed on her schedule, eating when and what she wants – and sometimes it’s a real battle to get her to do what I know she has to do (i.e. not eat M&Ms; for dinner, go to bed at a reasonable hour, not wear shorts when it’s twenty degrees out). She told me last night that what she wants most in the world is just freedom. From me always running her life. She’s six. Six.
And I don’t think I’m all that controlling. I let her pick her own clothes, within reason. I don’t let her eat too much junk, but I’m certainly not all that tough about it. She does her own hair, picks out her own stories… but she’s still struggling with having to do what I say. But then she’ll turn around and be so sweet and so eager to please. She seems to seek out my approval when she isn’t shoving me away, and it’s tough to keep up. The other day, she accused me of always wanting to make her be like me, putting her hair in ponytails and dressing her in jeans, just because I like ponytails and jeans. And it was so mean, the way she said it. I caught my breath for a minute, unbelievably hurt that my precious little love was saying that me, this pretty angel girl who thought I could control the sun – wanted nothing to do with being anything like me. But she’ll cuddle in my lap every night to go to sleep, and wake up in the middle of the night, wanting me to sing her back to sleep with hugs and kisses.
I hated being a kid. Granted, I had a few more extenuating circumstances, my parents were getting a messy ugly divorce, we were constantly worried about money, and I had Scott and the little kids, but still… childhood was not my favorite time. I keep reminding myself of that – I think that Jess is a lot like me in that regards. She wants control, she wants the power that comes with being able to determine her own destiny. Unfortunately, she is still six – so we’re just going to have to tough it out for another ten or twelve years…