Monday, January 12, 2009

Who’s in Charge Here?

Maggie is kicking my ass.

This kid. She’s not like the other two. Lisa is 8 years old and I still lay out her clothes for school. She never has an opinion one way or the other; she just puts them on. Bart doesn’t give me any grief either. But Maggie, she’s a different personality altogether. We fight every morning about what she will wear. She always wants a dress, will sometimes settle for a skirt, but despises pants of any kind, even if they’re girly colours or adorned with hearts and butterflies. Why not just let her wear a dress/skirt every day? This morning it was –12c, -20c with the wind chill. It’s too cold for just tights under snow pants. She needs tights and pants. I offer her choices, but unless one of the choices is a dress, she screams and cries and stamps her feet in a fit of fury.

This morning, I dropped off the big guys at their babysitter, then Maggie and I proceeded to her daycare. I noticed the snow plow heading down the street I wanted to turn on, so I went a slightly different route. Maggie freaked out, insisting I was going the wrong way. She WAILED “You’re going the wrong way!” for the entire 12-minute ride to the school, then refused to get out of the car. I finally grabbed her by her coat and pulled her out. In the process, she had kicked off one of her boots, so I unknowingly plopped her in a snow bank in her socks. I had to carry her snow pants and backpack in one hand and a punching, kicking, screaming Maggie in the other. Good times.

Oh sure, she seems sweet...


I find myself negotiating, bargaining with this child all the time... about breakfast, books, toys, going to bed, getting out of bed, tv time, going to school, leaving school… everything! She’s still in a crib because sometimes the only thing I can think to do when she’s being completely stubborn and unreasonable is to throw her in there and close the door to her room.

I don’t want to break her spirit, but I also can’t face another 15 years of her fighting me on everything. I’m used to being in charge; I like being in charge. Maggie seems intent on making me prove my worthiness for the leadership role.

20 comments:

Jess said...

I think you summed it up in that last sentence. It isn't that you aren't in charge. It's that she's testing you and wants you to prove how in charge you really are. It sounds like she needs a strict routine and firm limits, and that you're doing a good job setting those for her.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

Good to know I'm not the only one. Three out of four of mine are like this. Here's some good news... as they get older it eases up a bit. My 14-year-old is pretty easy now as far as teenagers go (I think). My 6-year-old is currently the most difficult, but I've noticed things getting better over the past couple of months. My two-year-old is starting to be incredibly frustrating, but she's so cute while being that way that at least it's amusing as well. I still lay out clothes for my mellow eight-year-old too. :)

Nowheymama said...

Hmmm...wonder what Helen's going to be like in a couple years.... :)

Chantal said...

My M is like that. He started off easy enough and then he hit 3 years old and wham he got an attitude and an opinion. The other day I was negotiating with him in public and I just felt like a complete loser. There were some older people around me and I felt like they were judging me (I am sure they weren't, but..). I wondered when did I lose my control. I feel like I have lost control. And it doesn't fell good.

Chantal said...

Oh yes and I wanted to mention that he tried to dictate the route I take to his daycare too! If I take another route (weather reason or whatever) he also gets mad and insists I am going the wrong way.

Misty said...

What about tights under a fitted pair of pants under a dress? I have no experience with such cold weather. Brrr. Miserable.

Poor LoriD. I am sure it is a phase. She will grow. She will change. You will be ok.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

I feel your pain. I've had a morning of frustration too. Must.find.chocolate.

Saly said...

Oh, you have described my Lucy in this post. When she is good, she is very very good. And when she is bad, she is horrid. If she doesn’t get her way, if you don’t answer her quick enough… if you tell her to stop jumping while she’s carrying her cereal bowl…… We keep hoping it is her age, but are more inclined to believe it is her personality. And we are terrified.

Lora said...

I remember being a total brat at 8 years old! Turns out, it is a perfectly normal phase and it should only last about 6 months.

It has something to do with your brain and body getting ready to get ready for puberty and independence. Betcher glad to hear that, right?!

Good luck!

LoriD said...

Lora - the 8-year-old is pretty good. It's the 3-year-old that's a brat!

bananafana said...

3 has been rough on us too. I can't even tell you how many times I've been told that I'm going the WRONG way or that I'm putting something in the WRONG place. O is obsessed with any "mistake" we make. Like taking different routes to grandmas or reorganizing the kitchen - I've got it WRONG. We'd been doing lots of bargaining but I finally gave up. I started telling him not too long ago that he can tell me how he feels, then I make a decision and I won't discuss it after that. As long as I'm talking, he thinks he might change my mind so I tell him how it is and that's that. It works for us 90% of the time. Except the other night when he started to fake cry and then asked me "whhhhhhy are you making me so sad? Why would you want to make me cry?" where do they LEARN this stuff?!?!!??!!

Kristin.... said...

Delurking (because it's that day!) to say hi. I also have an 8 year old, a 4 year old and soon to be 2 year old twins. They ALL test me every single day but the 4 year old is the WORST (he just turned 4).

I could go on and on. Email if you want to commiserate.

Astarte said...

OMG, the last half of 3 and the first half of 4 for Josie were the worst period of my LIFE. She WAS TERRIBLE. I have a picture of her laying on her bed, face down, after having the world's longest temper tantrum over having to pick up her socks. She used to slam the door to her room repeatedly if I put her in there (and I had to put up baby gates to make her stay in there). I remember crying at Christmas because I didn't want to give her a single. thing. because she was so, so horrid. OMG, AWFUL. Things were fine by about halfway through 4.

Erin said...

I FEEL FOR YOU.

This is how my Calum is. It's hard to believe I had another, considering. I mean I LOVE that boy, obv, but he's SO STUBBORN and SO DRIVEN. It's maddening. Because at THREE, his notions are not exactly RATIONAL.

She IS a cutie pie though! I'm not glad to hear you're going through that, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one!

Tess said...

Oh dude. Ava has been trying to pick out her own clothes for AGES, and she's only two. It's a nightmare. AND, she also wants to pick MY clothes.

Just this morning, she said, "NO MOMMY YOU NOT WEAR THAT! You wear ORANGE shirt!"

Oy.

Rolling Off The Edge... Together said...

This is my kid too and I thought they were all like this. You mean... they CAN be reasonable???

CAQuincy said...

My four-year old is also kicking my butt. I've parented two other kids JUST FINE, and this one is starting to make me glad that we decided to stop at three.

Melissa said...

Just stumbled across you blog thought i'd say hi, and love the idea of your kids names for the blog!

Badness Jones said...

both my kids fight me on everything - They're impossible - unfortunately they're both like me that way. My mom just knit a warm pair of legwarmers for the Princess, because she's a dress girl too. They're our compromise.

Tiffany said...

My god she sounds like my daughter, Jordan, 3.5 years old. sigh.

Good luck!