So Miss Monkey may be 5, but I swear to whatever higher power exists, she thinks she's 15. She bosses me around like I'm her servant (I do not submit). She screams, "NOOOOO!" and "FIIIIIINE!" at the top of her lungs when she doesn't want to do something and/or finally concedes. She must be told at least three, but usually five, times before she does something. Like put on her underpants. Or her shoes. She lies. Oh how she lies. Like this morning when I asked her to wash her hands WITH SOAP and she comes out after one second. When I asked about the soap, she tucked her hands under arms, ran away and said, "Just TRUST ME, Mommy!! I DID!!" Yeah, a little hard to trust you when you're not telling the truth sweet thing. Not. Acceptable.
Now, in my logical brain that is actually quite full of handy parenting strategies and child development facts thanks to prior jobs, I know most, if not all, of this atrocious behavior is a phase, a developmental blip. I do my very best to take deep breaths, to speak in a low, calm but firm voice, to use descriptive language about how I'm feeling (i.e. "I'm starting to feel very frustrated...."). I give immediate consequences when necessary (almost always instant loss of TV or a time-out for a certain beloved toy.) Often something works. And sometimes, we have mornings like yesterday and today. When I yelled. And screamed. And, please forgive me, swore up storm. The worst part? Right now, I can't even tell you exactly what it was that set me off.
About three seconds later, I instantly felt like the worst mother in the world (as frankly, I should). I'm the grown-up, I should at least be able to out-calm a preschooler! Selfishly, I was relieved that she really didn't seem that phased by my freakouts. She snapped to and did whatever it was I wanted her to do. And on the way to school we had perfectly pleasant chats and big hugs and kisses goodbye. I'm pretty sure I apologized at least seven times. My patience lately are paper thin and I so want to fatten them up. And even though every day I make a little pledge to use my inside voice no matter what, I find myself breaking it over and over. So now I'm going to make the pledge publicly in hopes that it helps me stick to it: "I solemnly swear to at least appear calm and in control when my child is actually driving me batty. I will leave the room, count to 75, and try any other means necessary not to yell unless she's in mortal danger (or at least 95% percent of the time)." There, done.
In the meantime, I'd love to know how YOU deal with these types of spells without losing it over the fact that your kid can't find her damn sock. (I think that happened last week. See, I can't even remember! HELP!) xox, Evie