Friday, March 13, 2009

Lie to Me

Someone please tell me that you have raised a insane psycho clown...hellcat...Strong Willed Girl and she turned out alright. A nice girl who grew up and was sweet and kind and didn’t have a tantrum at her high school graduation (because she actually made it to the high school graduation instead of incarceration at juvie) and she went on to have a nice, normal life that didn’t involve too much screaming or scaring small animals or showing up on COPS.

Because this child is killing me.

Generally, she is a good kid. She does have a raging case touch of whineywhineritis, but that’s pretty normal. She goes to preschool and daycare and gets along with everyone. She comes home from visiting with friends or relatives and I get reports of how wonderful and helpful she was.

But like a lot of kids, she has her moments. And on Sunday she had ONE HELL OF one those moments. And by “moment”, I mean hours and hours of everyone within earshot being licked by the hot flames of Satan’s flaming pitchfork of misery and death.

These things don’t happen too often (though more often than I would prefer), but when they do, you better get yourself some earplugs (for the screaming), shin guards (for the kicking when you carry her - hanging in front of you - to her room), a flak jacket and helmet (to protect yourself from jamming a sharp item into your own body to just get away from it) and a big bottle of patience (I imagine Xanax would work).

This particular episode was extra special. It went on and on and on (and – God help me – ON). It started because I told her she had to clean her room. Her immediate reaction upon being told to clean her room is the helpless act (“I neeeed heeeeeeeeeeellllllllp!!”). And I understand that she is only five and does actually need a little guidance when it comes to cleaning. So I told her that I had a few things to doand I wanted her to get started and I would come in and help shortly. Or maybe I told her that I killed her dog. By feeding him all her toys. And then used the dead toy-filled dog to beat Santa to death. Or at least, that’s what her reaction would imply.

I managed to stay calm and not yell at her. I gave her specific instructions – pick up all her dirty clothes that she had been neglecting to put in the hamper and put them in and put her stuffed animal on her bed. Then let me know when she was done and I would come in and help her.

I KNOW!!!!! I am a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad mother! I can’t even imagine a worse mother, can you? She proceeded to scream and cry and stomp and roll around and throw things. It went on for hours. She screamed at the top of her lungs until her voice was hoarse. She made an even bigger mess with all her carrying on.

I ended up taking stuff away from her. I called my SIL and cancelled this week’s visit (it’s her favorite thing). All to no avail. When she finally started to calm down, she cried because her throat hurt. She needed “something cold” for it. I told her when she stopped crying I would get her a cold drink. But no – she wanted ice cream. Ummm…HELL NO! I told her that her throat was hurting because of the screaming. So she screamed some more. And so it started again. And on and on with the screaming, crying, kicking, stomping, yelling nonsense. And then her head split open and seventy-three of Satan’s most evil minions came out and set us on fire and chewed our faces off and then we all died. True Story.

Eventually, she Very Sorrowfully and Dramatically started picking up clothes and putting them in the hamper. She finished up with the things I asked her to and sniffled at me that she was done. I went in – as promised – and helped her finish up, but by this time, we were all drained and the day was pretty much ruined for everyone. My favorite part was when she hugged me and said, “I’m sorry I said you were a terrible mother,” which I hadn’t even heard her say anyway (which, whatever, I don’t get all het up about that shit anyway).

But when this happens, it tears us all up. I try very hard to be patient and not rise to the bait, but sometimes it’s really hard. And mr b has no patience for it whatsoever. His fuse is about one billionth of an inch long and so I find myself in the position of trying to deal with her psychosis, keep myself sane, and keep him fro making things worse.

And make things worse he can definitely do. Because he can’t stand it and just wants it to stop. So if I let him, he will step in and give her what she wants, which trains her to keep doing it. The thing is - if he would get up and help her clean the first time she asks, it wouldn’t bethat big if a deal – it would be a parent helping a child. But instead, he lets her go crazy first, and then when he can’t stand the screaming, he gives in, stomps in and says he will help. This is not acceptable. Not only does it teach her to lose her shit to get what she wants, but it then secures his spot (in his mind) in the martyr hall of fame, since he quit whatever “important” thing that he was doing to do what is (also in his mind) my job. He does this shit not because he feels bad for her but because he feels bad for him. (It’s a totally separate issue that we need to work out, because as long as it isn’t interrupting his game/book/guitar he doesn’t give a shit, but when it does, he lumps me in with the kids. I can yell at them for something they TOTALLY need to be yelled at and he will say something like, “I am sick of all the yelling in this house!!” Nice, huh?)

Anyway – back to the issue at hand. I don’t make idle threats – I follow through. And unlike someone who shall remain nameless, I don’t make threats that are obviously not follow-through-able (like not going on vacation, etc).

Even when we show a united front, though, we have yet to find anything that works on her. Ignoring her does nothing –she just keeps on going, like a tiny energizer bunny of misery. Taking things away from her just enrages her – she’ll panic and plead, but then she will simply try to tell you that she will do what you are asking after you give back whatever you took away.

Nothing seems to phase her.

There are times when I find myself worrying that there is something wrong with her and should I call a psychiatrist or and exorcist? And yet she’s very bright, articulate, otherwise well-behaved, and has no obvious triggers or health problems. Other than being STUBBORN AS ALL HOLY FUCK.

So someone please – PLEASE tell me about your evil crazy little strong-willed daughter who turned out to be a lovely young woman. Lie to me if you have to.

See - when she looks like this:

I forget about this shit:

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Sarah said...

*Raises hand* I didn't have a girl like that. I WAS that girl. Or am. I think I turned out okay. My mom always says that the traits that were impossible to live with at age four were a blessing at age fourteen. You see, I was (am?) so stubborn, I was completely immune to peer pressure.
My relatives still chuckle when reminded of my childhood temper tantrums, but I'd like to think I managed to outgrow them. Mostly. (don't ask my husband)

justmylife said...

I have a post about my red eyed little demon child and razor sharp talons. I wish I could find it, you would appreciate it. Read about any post on Little Miss at my place and you would see your little angel there. I wish I could say it gets better...She is 9 and I am still waiting. It has to get better though...Right?

Bethtastic said...

I can't wait to read what other people say...

Because I have a stubborn, tantrum-throwing, holy-cow-I'm-going-to-kill-her, little red-headed darling of my own.

It does get better, doesn't it?

meno said...

Hmmmm, neither i nor my child was quite like this, although mine could raise holy hell for a little while, but was not able to sustain it for hours.

But whatever you do, DON'T GIVE IN. The ensures that this will continue, pretty much forever,

But you knew that, didn't you?

Mia said...

Have you been spying on me? I just had this (almost) exact same experience with my 9 year old Diva. I really need to take a photo of her room and write a post about it. It is impossible. I'm thinking that there is something in her room (maybe black mold or some random light flashing) that might set her into a trance/seizure upon entering and that is why she can be in there for 4 hours and have done nothing but lay on her bed looking at books or just drawing on scraps of paper.

Gwen said...

I feel like you are describing my daughter. And, like you, I often worry that there is something wrong with. I have posted some things in the past about her rage, her overwhelming anger, her screaming, her defiance. She is just extremely strong-willed and it baffles me because I never was. Me and my husband are both quiet, passive people so to see her screaming when she doesn't get her way is upsetting and frustrating. And I feel terrible because I think people assume, "children learn what they live". But Liv NEVER hears screaming in our house. So I have to deal with people thinking I'm a terrible parent. Hell, maybe I am. Liv is 3 1/2 and I keep thinking she will grow out of it if I'm patient enough and give her enough discipline. My husband is more the type to make threats impossible to carry out or to just spank her. I hate spanking her but sometimes I don't know what else to do and it's the only thing that works. I'm not advocating that at all, believe me. I just want you to know that you aren't alone. I can see how frustrated you are and how deeply you love your daughter. You aren't a bad mother. Your daughter is strong-willed. I think she'll turn out just fine.

JenniferC said...

I won't even lie to you. I will tell you a true story.

Maybe three years ago, when Miss O was the age your DD is now, she had those sorts of Linda Blair moments. I recall one vividly because it happened on the front sidewalk in full view of ALL the neighbors and was probably heard across the East End in general. The best part of that little tantrum was Miss O prostrate on the hall floor (I had carried her down the sidewalk and into the house like a stack of firewood) yelling, "I'm NEVER sayin' I'm sorry. NEVER. EVER!"

And now? I have a whole pile of "I'm sorry, please forgive me" notes (complete with taped-on Hershey's Kisses) from the very same child. It only took a few years, but she eventually moved past the horrible tantrums and is now practicing some self flagellation. It's probably still not great, but it IS a lot quieter. AND it nets me chocolate.

So, yeah. Hang in there...

Chris said...

Beat her little ass!!! LOL I'm kidding.

It sounds to me like you handled the situation perfectly. And it's important that you don't give in. Just keep doing it the way you are and don't let mr b discourage you.

Burgh Baby said...

She did the Jedi thing!

Oh, yeah, not the point.

Um, we're married to the same man. This I know. I listed to my moman (short for moron man) CONSTANTLY threaten Alexis that if she didn't do XYZ she wasn't going to Disney World. As if. The pisser of it all was that IT WORKED.

The Girl is going to be just fine. She'll put you in the loony bin along her way, but she'll be fine. I am positive of it.

I am a Tornado ~ proven fact! said...

I have the same girl.

If she is fine, it will be the death of me...

I pray everyday that my girl graduates high school instead of going to prison.