Lately being a good and tolerant parent has been very trying. My oldest daughter is exasperating and exhausting. She works hard at ruining every situation she is a part of. Yesterday I took the three girls to the Second Sunday Market on Main St, as soon as we stepped out of the car Lorelei announced she was bored. We stayed long enough for me to get some bread, let the little girls look at the water and listen to a multitude of complaints.
We piled back in the car and I took everyone to Meadowbrook Park where I had to force Lorelei to get out of the car. She then spent the entire 45 minutes we were there closely following me and repeating, "Can we go home now? Can we go home now? Can we go home now? Can we go home now?" I ignored her, gave no response. I just continued to follow the little girls around making sure they weren't trying too many daredevil stunts (I did wonder what other parents were thinking of us, though). Then she changed tactics and started bullying Violet, doing things to put her in danger on the monkey bars. I was forced to acknowledge her behavior and sent her to sit on a bench. Shortly after that we decided to go home for lunch - I was completely mentally and physically exhausted by the whole outing.
All that came on the heels of a giant meltdown that happened Friday night, nearly resulting in cancelling her plans for Saturday. I gave her the opportunity to earn back the outing with her friend on Saturday and she did, but barely. We were being very generous - it's so hard when another family is involved in the punishment, you don't want to also punish them by cancelling. I was talking to her friend's mom (who was seeing similar behavior from her kid) and we both agreed that we really hoped it was some sort of early hormonal thing rearing its head and not the fact that we have rotten kids. (We know we don't because each of us can report that the other's kid always behaves marvelously when they are away from their parents.)
There are a few nuggets from my childhood that surface every once in a while when I'm in the midst of some crazy parenting nightmare that make me think I'm being punished for all the terrible things I did to my parents. I remember my father telling me when I was a kid, probably just a little older than Lorelei is now, "Just because you're in a bad mood doesn't mean you have to put every one else in a bad mood." That is exactly how I feel. I'm struggling with how to not let her tantrums affect my good mood.
And then there's the bathing problem. She refuses to bathe. I'm going to have to start buying her deodorant so she doesn't start offending passing strangers. Sigh.