I have three beautiful, kind, amazing little girls. All of them are the loves of my life, the reason I wake up and the reason I work so hard to provide for them. They are my whole heart and the love I have for them is like no other I have ever known. All three are raised the same. With them all being a year apart, the same rules apply to all. They get the same rewards and punishments for behavior issues, the same consequences for not following the rules and the same ‘pick your punishment’ for repeat offenses. They share a room, go to the same school at the same time and even have a lot of the same friends.
But despite the closeness, one of these kids is not like the other.
One is pushing every button mommy has with a sly grin on her face and a headstrong personality that buffers most consequences. She is a cunning little girl and, while her halo glows atop her head, she can make me question my entire method of motherhood several times a day.
My youngest daughter is my nemesis. My smart, sweet, candy coated mess. She is my challenge that I thought I had enough experience in motherhood to avoid. If I were not a single mom with the need to be present at all times, she would be the reason I drink.
None of my other kids seemed to put me through this at age 5. I had a whiny child, yes. And I can clearly remember the throw down tantrums I had with my oldest. But they responded to corrections and have grown out of those, for the most part, whereas this one is stubbornly hanging on.
Time out has always been my first step in trying to correct behaviors. Then going to their rooms. Then taking things away. Then writing sentences. Then just plain screaming. I rarely get to the screaming anymore as two of my three understand the process and never want to get past time out. But my Megan, my little big brown eyed sweetheart, literally stands and screams at the top of her lungs the entire 5 minutes in time out.
When I move her to her room, it is head out, screaming, telling me I am the meanest mommy ever! the entire time. When I move to taking things away, she throws an even larger tantrum. I have even taken things away at her dad’s house and she just keeps crying. She is too young to write sentences so I end up screaming, trying to be heard over her.
One of the methods that worked really well for my other girls was the ‘repeat’ what I say method. I was on their level and would tell them what the right thing to do was and then they had to repeat it to me. Once they did, they got a hug and were on their way. Megan won’ repeat and when she does, she mumbles. It is infuriating, to put it bluntly! This too shall pass, and I know that.
The thing that is literally causing me heartburn and migraines is the morning routine. She is a particular child. Not just, ‘I want to wear pink’ particular, but ‘I want to wear the pink underwear with the gray and white horsey shirt and the blue pants, the Hello Kitty socks and my shoes have to be just right’, particular. She could care less if she wore it the day before. In addition, she has a certain way she wants her hair every day. Usually it is complicated with her thin, perfectly curly hair, and at the end of the 30 minute fight to get her to wear the underwear with the flowers instead of the frogs. If we can not find EXACTLY what she wants, it is meltdown central. It has gotten to the point where I can not help my older girls with anything because I spend all morning dealing with my youngest so we are not late for school.
This child has thrown me into a parenting place where asylums look appealing. 70% of the time, she is amazing. But the 30% where she draws the line in the sand and dares me to cross it is confusing, frustrating and I am alllll done with it.
How this child can be raised the same, taught the same and loved the same and be so different from the other two is amazing to me. I suspect it has something to do with the ‘baby of the family’ birth position. It could also be that the divorce happened when she was 2 and 3 and so she was not getting all of the attention she needed to avoid these issues at a pivotal time in her development.
Or it could be that she is just like me.
In any event, I adore my sweet daughter and though she drives me mad sometimes, I would not have her any other way!