I had this vision of what my life as a first time mom would be. I would spend time snuggling my baby, singing little lullabies and generally loving being a mom. What I got was a baby who HATED to be held, who pushed her little hand into my face and shoved me away when I tried to kiss her, and wanted nothing more than to lay on the floor. Little Miss Independent from day one.
Meg is my tough child. Not tough on the exterior, but tough in terms of parenting. She was an only child for 4 years and was, quite frankly, spoiled. It wasn’t deliberate, but when you’re the first grandchild on one side of the family and the first grandchild in 9 years on the other side, you get a lot of doting. She had our undivided attention at home. But she also had a temper. When Drew was born, the ugly side of her temper became clear. She was prone to tantrums, throwing things at me and Drew. She didn’t want to share us with anyone. She still doesn’t, even after almost 4 1/2 years of being a big sister. From a parenting perspective, the attitude has gotten old.
In my last post I mentioned that Meg had a meltdown over the vacation we’re taking and some of you asked for me to explain. Meg has meltdowns quite frequently. She used to have them daily and they would take hours to end. She would scream, hit, tear her room apart, thrash about on the floor. Of course it was all for attention, and typically done because we asked her to do something like pick up her room. Now her tantrums are shorter, but they still include the thrashing about on the floor, hitting (she is 4 ft 6in, 100 lbs and I am her favorite target) and the screaming, and usually because we asked her to do something and she doesn’t want to do it (mind you, unless it involves eating or watching tv, she doesn’t want to do anything we ask her to do. Charming? No.) I digress. Sunday night we told the kids about our vacation so that we could do a countdown. We thought a vacation would be fun, especially since it’s coinciding with the end of the school year and Meg HATES summer vacation. Instead, all we got was lip about how going away is scary, she doesn’t want to go, blah, blah, blah.
It’s so hard to explain how tiring it is to parent a child that hates everything. We spend so much of our energies trying to anticipate her reaction to things. We never know when something will set her off and she’ll start screaming at us. For the record, she does not act like this at school and people are surprised to hear how she behaves at home. Unfortunately, her attitude has carried over to the other children and we are seeing the exact same behavior in Isabelle. It’s not just the tantrums. It’s the attitude. She talks with complete disrespect most of the time. She refuses to do anything that she doesn’t want to do. There are no ways to “punish” her; I can’t put her in her room if she’s misbehaving because I can’t just pick her up and move her. There aren’t things we can take away from her, as she almost never watches tv because of her horrible behavior when something is over, and she acts the same way after computer time. We’ve been to therapy, and it did nothing to help.
I wish I could say that I’ve figured out how to avoid this with the other children, but that is not the case. I work daily on manners for the kids, but in the end, my house is a total free-for-all. The kids talk through me when I’m speaking, they flat out tell me “no” when they don’t want to do something, and they learned it all from their big sister. We’ve tried to explain to her that she needs to set a good example for the younger children, and her responses is always a vacant “ok”, which is her way of saying “yup, shut up, I don’t care”. I hear from her daily that I don’t love her, that I should just get rid of her. Trying to talk to her about anything is an exercise in total frustration.
In the end, it’s very sad. I love Meg so much, but I’m so tired of trying to make her happy when she cleary doesn’t want to be happy. I hope that some day she’ll find a way to be happy. I’ll keep working on finding a way to get through to her. And maybe we will have a nice vacation after all. I just wish there were more definites instead of maybes.