I Declare Today as “Childish Behavior Tuesday.”

If this seems dumb to you as you read it, imagine how dumb I feel admitting it.

I was tired and cranky this evening. I always pack the days too full when Bryan is gone, which I did today by cramming in a bunch of afternoon errands that I should have just left alone, especially since they involved trying on clothes. Which? Never goes well.

While eating dinner Ruthie kept scraping her fork against my plate, making a screeching fingernail-on-chalkboard kind of sound.

I asked her to stop, which she did.

Then she scraped again, quieter, while looking at me to see how I would respond.

I asked her to stop. Again. Which she did.

Then she TAPPED my plate with her fork while, again, looking for my reaction.

My new phrase for her is, “What you are doing is mean spirited,” because she can be a little shit to me and all her friends with her antagonizing. So I said this to her, adding that I didn’t like the sound she was making, and I had already asked her to stop.

She then proceeded to stick her leg out and tap her foot on my knee, WHILE LOOKING FOR A FUCKING REACTION.

Which I, of course, gave her. In full color and form.

It was not my finest hour, but DAMN IT, she was pissing me off with the testing.

I’m realizing it’s not so much the disobeying that I get frustrated by, because HELLO! She’s three. I’m pretty sure she’s going to disobey. I become completely unglued when she antagonizes: when I tell her to not touch something and she brings her little hand within a centimeter of the thing she’s not supposed to touch and watches to see what I’ll do, when she touches the space ALL AROUND the thing she’s not supposed to touch and watches to see what I’ll do, when she slides her FOOT close to the thing she’s not supposed to touch and watches to see what I’ll do…

Are you getting the picture?

Why does that bug me so much?

Because A) I have a rage problem, which is essentially an issue of being a control-freak, and her being out of my control makes my chest tight and my jaw clench (my issue), and B) she is TECHNICALLY obeying me by not touching, but in her heart she’s giving me the big fuck you! finger, and that scares the shit out of me.

I don’t want my cute, smart, funny, sweet, blondie growing up with a big fuck you! finger tattooed on her heart. I want her heart to be soft, and teachable, and receptive of discipline.

Has my own dysfunction made her mean spirited?

Am I blowing a normal thing out of proportion?

Granted, I acted like a child myself the way I handled her tonight. I played right into her hand. I admit it. But I feel so worn down by this issue at large, and when you add to that a tiring day I honestly didn’t have the energy to be mature about it.

But it definitely has me stressed out.

3 thoughts on “I Declare Today as “Childish Behavior Tuesday.””

  1. Both of my kids were like that; the 6-yr STILL does it (especially when he’s mad), although now we can talk about it and use words. What worked for me was to give myself a ‘time-out’. I used that terminology outloud so the kids could learn that mommies have breaking points too and sometimes we need a few minutes to regain control of our emotions. My oldest son has a rage problem too (poor impulse control and a lot of frustration) and now he goes voluntarily to his room when he starts getting worked up about something.

    I would go to my room or bathroom and just lock myself in for about five minutes. It gave me time to cool off and breathe so I wasn’t raging (sometimes I just cried out the frustration and anger) and it deprived my child of his audience. When I came back, he had usually gotten tired of the game and moved on to something else.

    But kids know how to push our buttons. And none of us are perfect. I know how I’m supposed to ‘parent’ and then there’s reality. Especially when you’re doing it solo. Give yourself a hug for all the things you did right today, including recognizing that raging at Ruthie was not the most effective way of dealing with her, and then try again tomorrow. 🙂

  2. [… it deprived my child of his audience….]

    That’s huge. I get that. I need to remember that. I have given myself time-outs before, but sometimes I forget. I get into a zone of needing to make a point, and then I lose all perspective.

    […I know how I’m supposed to ‘parent’ and then there’s reality…]

    Amen, sista.

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