Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Can Handle the Truth

The truth behind yesterday's post and the SMART-induced crankiness is that it was not SMART-induced. My SMART experiences of not listening were on top of a morning filled with OC not listening. Roll it together into a big ball of Why Do I Even Try? and that's where I was by the time SMART happened.

Lovely. Way to be a grownup, eh?

Yeah. Some days are harder than others. My daughter is wonderful - exceptional even - while she is also a normal child who does not like to listen to every little thing her mom says. Imagine that!

Sometimes I don't want to be needed by anyone or any being, the way my daily life includes a constant need for my attention by many sources: the cat who puts his paws on my leg to be up in my lap as I type; the cat who pukes on the carpet, always on the carpet and not the easier-to-clean floor; the other cat who rubs against my legs asking to be pet even as I sit on the toilet minding my own business; the child who talks and talks to me, constantly demanding my attention when she has a whim to mention something of consequence to herself, all throughout the day, heedless of any visual clue that I am otherwise engaged.

I have noticed that OC often replies to a suggestion of mine with her own. It happens more and more often. When I say, "Go get dressed" she'll respond with, "Okay, then I will watch a movie."

Wait a minute....what?!? Sometimes she asks, sometimes she informs, sometimes she completely changes what I have said. If I give her choices - choices! It's so Parent magazine of me! - "we can go for a walk or go out back and play soccer" she might return with "or we could go to the park". Um, yes, or not.

Sometimes we do what she suggests. I want to hear what she thinks, most of the time. Other times I just want her to listen and do what I've asked her to do. It seems like it's such a struggle just to get back to what I said in the first place.

Instead of being pleased with her copious ideas - and I should be - I am often caught by surprise by this and end up overwhelmed with too many possibilities and wondering where my parental authority has run off to. The question I have is one of balance and fairness: when do I let her have her way, and when do I not?

She's getting older. She's not a toddler anymore, and I recognize that as she grows she needs to have her ideas considered more often while being mindful of the balance of giving kids control vs. giving them a say.

It's all part of growing up, though, isn't it? Expressing yourself and compromising. I am the one who is behind the curve. My daughter is expressing herself, and I need to get with the program.


melissa said...

Oh believe me, you are not alone. Sometimes I feel pulled from all sides. My six year old daughter can't talk to me enough - and I feel horrible when it gets to me.

My son is going to middle school this fall and I struggle daily with the "he's my baby/he needs to make some of his own decisions" dilemma. I wonder if I'll ever strike the right balance.

I'm glad you're writing about it - it reminds me that it's not just me, and that it's okay to feel that way.

Yayagirl said...

so glad others feel that too! phew! i hate being annoyed when my kids want me constantly, but i do get annoyed alot...too much maybe. i'm trying. good post!

krista said...

I feel like the sage old woman when I say this, BUT... there may come a time in your life when your kids have grown, and maybe you find yourself alone for some reason, and you realize that you actually MISS being needed. Yes, that's right, you might long for the days when small arms reached up to you, or someone begged some lap time for storytelling.

Enjoy it all, and remember that it won't always be this way.

marnie said...

I can't comment on children but my dog is very needy. Like your cat, I cannot go to the bathroom without a Golden Retriever sitting on the bath mat whimpering like the toilet is trying to kill me.

Life is going to be so much more fun when I add a cat to the mix! Can't wait. 4 eyes on me while peeing... lovely.

Occidental Girl said...

Being a parent truly taps your patience, and it is an ever-changing proposition. There are no "Right Answers" because the questions keep changing!

I'm glad I am not alone.