I am nothing if not honest

16/Oct/2008

*Excuse the stream of consciousness here, but I’m going to write and then get started on work. I think I need to put This Stuff Down so I can take it out of my brain and focus on other things that make people happy like CLEAN CODE and NAVIGATIONS THAT WORK and CSS VALIDATION. So, sorry ahead of time for the lack of editing. It’s been a long night. Also, please note: I am not going crazy or super depressed. I’m frustrated. I’m tired. I’d like to use a lot of eff words. I know you understand. Thank you.

Tomorrow my daughter turns four years old. This marks, for me, a very important day. It’s the day she turns in to My Favorite Age. It’s the day she is no longer a toddler but a child. It’s the day she becomes human enough to reason with.

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Or, at least, that’s what I thought before having children.

The last few months have been hard. The last few weeks have been harder. The last few days have been hell.

There is a huge gaping cavern between where my daughter stands and where I live. Logic. Perspective. Common Sense. These are attributes I’ve spent nearly 33 years cultivating. She’s spent four years defying them.

I know four year old’s shouldn’t be expected to reason. I know they don’t get common sense. I know they don’t understand The Big Picture. But people, they SHOULD understand where the toilet is and how to get there in time to piddle. They SHOULD understand when mommy says to “put on your shoes” she does not mean “bug your brother, then throw a fit at the top of the stairs, pick some lint, get out a few dolls, whine about something, throw another fit, look for the toy you lost 11 months ago and turn on the TV.”

All I want is for her to put on her fucking shoes.

I understand that a four year old won’t get that it’s raining outside and the longer she doddles in the car, Mom gets drenched. I know she doesn’t get that money doesn’t grow on trees and that I have to work if she wants that Pink! Sparkle! Bedroom! All! Of! Her! Own! (good luck with that one, kid) But I do think she can understand that we all do things we don’t want to sometimes and it’s OK to not love EVERY FUCKING MINUTE of my day but that over all life isn’t that bad.

Unless you fall and scrape your knee, that is.

Then HOLY FUCK BATMAN.

MY KNEEE.

I SCRAPED MY KNEE.

:: flail like a fish out of water here and throw yourself on the ground increasing screaming pitch until only dogs in Holland can here you ::

It’s exhausting in a way I can not explain, the training up of this child. The increasing difficulty in which she exists is making trading in this version for a four legged hound that licks his ass sound pretty appealing. It makes taking a 16 month old who craps himself, throws fits and scream in public easy. At least HE is 16 months old, not The Human Age Of Four.

I’ve been reflecting on my own childhood as she nears my age of remembrance. I remember doing fun things like carving pumpkins and having sleep overs. I remember watching, with disgust, as my childhood best friend would throw a fit because she couldn’t get her tights on over her sticky humid-ridden legs before Ballet. I remember thinking my 5 year old friend sure did over-react a lot.

I was five and I Got It.

She’s Four.

Comon.

I think of things the Catholic Priests of my childhood would be proud of. GUILT! It’s ALL MY FAULT! I’m a horrible mother. I work too much. I don’t spend enough time with her. I don’t feel connected with her because I had PPD and couldn’t form that bond with her as an infant.

I pack on so much guilt I contemplate staying home and just Being There For Her.

Then I look around for a fork to shove in to my eye because WHAT THE FUCK.

I must be on crack.

So I go to work and I focus on things like making people happy because SOMETIMES work actually works and people are happy! They don’t throw a fit! My clients? They understand reason, logic and perspective.

I could kiss my computer.

My co-worker is a saint.

Code makes sense.

Code never ever wets its pants or throws a fit.

(insert nerd “throwing an exception” joke here because HAHA! Bad function! No Variable Defined! Throws exception! HAHAHAAHAHAHA.)

(stop rolling your eyes)

(I’m done now)

So I seek things that make me happy because my daughter Does Not.

And I feel bad about that.

And selfish.

And! The Guilt! Again.

I wonder out loud if I was cut out for this Mom gig. Then I wonder what kind of a God would fuck with me like this because HAHAHAHAAAA (fingers pointing down from heaven) take challenging intelligent child and turn her in to someone that can contribute to society! I DARE YOU.

Then I get struck by lightening.

ouch.

I guess, here on the eve of her fourth birthday, I can’t help but wonder where I went wrong. If I went wrong. Why I went wrong. And if I can fix it. Or if our relationship will always be this jagged, this hard, this challenging.

I cry a little at that thought. I cry because I want a better relationship with my daughter. I cry because I’m not really sure that I can do it alone. I need her to try, too.

But she’s only four.

Not even four.

Tomorrow, she is four.

I can not believe the years flying by. Please make them stop so I can figure this all out? Because before I know it? She’ll be 14. And I’ll wonder why she stands on the other side of the gaping cavern where logic and time and common sense do not exist.

My only hope is that I can stand there with her. I know she’ll need me.

I know I need her.

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Comments

  1. This makes me cry a little because I am standing across from a widening gap from my 10 yr old daughter and I want the type of relationship with her that I never had with my own mother.  But how do we get there?  My 10 yr old has so much spirit and I fear that I spend part of every day breaking that sprirt.  But I don’t want to do that.  I want to embrace it.  But I also don’t like spending my days being blamed for the world ending just because she can’t find a fucking pair of socks in her mess of a room or has now decided that the black velvet dress (that I paid FULL FUCKING price for 3 days ago) is no longer acceptable to wear tomorrow for a school photo and she now wants to wear black velvet pants and a white blouse.  But I have to go to work and don’t have all day to spend shopping for a SECOND FUCKING outfit.  Sorry , where was I?  Oh yes.  I’m right there with you and if anyone has the answer, will it work for me and my 10 yr old daughter?

    By Chris on 2008 10 16

  2. Oh my sweet, sweet Leslie!  My heart just breaks for you!  Not because I pity you, but because I understand.  A LOT of us understand.  B is only three and there are days I literally think I cannot handle one more minute of her “three-ness.” 

    I hear you, I know that moment, those moments, that stretch of time that seems like forever when it’s only another day… another F’ING DAY.  I think most parents feel this to one degree or another, and for you, it’s extremely acute right now because you’ve got TWO litle ones at very difficult stages.  I honestly don’t know how most people do it.  Maybe they lie when they say they love it, or maybe their children are just not as challenging, but for a lot of people (as evidenced by all the blogs out there) THIS SHIT IS HARD.  HARD hard, not just “Oh, it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.”  It’s hard like I DON’T WANNA DO IT ANYMORE moments, and moments when you’d SWEAR you could give it up.

    I won’t belittle your feelings by saying “it will pass” or “it will get better,” because that doesn’t help.  What might help is maybe to take the same tactic you did awhile back with dieting.  You said you just did the diet for one day.  And if you did well, that was great. If not, you tried again the next day.  Maybe applying that to parenting, but allowing the positives and successes to build and support you would help?  I don’t know, but I’m here sending as big a hug as I can.  You can always email me if you need a shoulder!

    {{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS!!!!}}}}}}}}}}}

    By Katie Kat on 2008 10 16

  3. Four is “human enough to reason with??”

    Nope, sorry, wrong.  Foiled again Flingilicious.

    By Karen Sugarpants on 2008 10 16

  4. the joys of having a 4 Yr old! Ry is totally a drama queen. I laugh now when she is sent to her room and she screams “why don’t you ever listen to me! You don’t understand me!” (at the tender age of 3) over and over but I know in a few years that she will understand those words and mean it. It makes my heart break but for now I can laugh out if her sight about it. This is the time that they push their boundaries more and more (I.e the “no I am in charge not u, daddy, or b”). But remember that they still love us and need us at least for a few more years.  Lord help us make it through!!!

    By nicole on 2008 10 16

  5. Four is hard, so if five, but we are headed to six in three weeks and it is getting easier with my red-headed beauty.  I hope boys are easier, becasue mineis not even three yet…

    By KD@ A Bit Squirrelly on 2008 10 16

  6. Umm…I guess this means you don’t want me to talk to you about teenagers then. Cause teenagers aren’t human enough to reason with either. In fact I think they regress back to their 3-year-old selves somewhere around the age of 12. I often say having my own teenagers makes me want to call my dad to apologize. This is what our parents meant when they said, “You just wait until you have your own kids.” The good news is we can say this same thing to our kids. Until then I suggest margaritas. And lots of them.

    By Christine on 2008 10 16

  7. Happy Birthday to your girl! She’s beautiful.

    By Renee on 2008 10 16

  8. I read this quote once that when kids are misbehaving is when they need to know we love them the most. I try to remember that when I’m about to lose it with my almost 4 year old.

    By Carrie on 2008 10 16

  9. Oh, my, Mrs. Flinger. My, my, my. My boy just turned 8, and I still feel the aftershocks of those days when he was four and he did the things your girl is doing now and I thought about the sorts of things that you are talking about her. He still does some of those things that he used to, especially taking his time in the car while I get drenched in the rain, but not so much. The trauma has faded and the memories are mostly funny now. Like the time I had to take him to work naked because, after I made the mistake of telling him we had to get the tape to the camera crew NOW, he refused to get dressed. Or those heady days of yesteryear when he refused to poop at my place, and I had to drive him across town to his mothers. Seriously. He would hold it in for DAYS, until I could see the turds protruding against his distended little belly and he was howling and crying in pain, and off we would go to his mother’s house, always at the most inconvenient times, to HER toilet and HER pull-ups. He finally told me what the deal was one day: He even told me, “Daddy, I don’t poop in apartments. I only poop in houses.” And that was that. So keep the forks out of your eyeballs, you’ll want to keep your vision clear so you can watch her grow up to be a better person than you’d ever dreamed. But be sure and make her read some of these blog entries when she has kids of her own!

    By Scott on 2008 10 16

  10. My almost 3 year old throws a HystericalCryingException every night at bedtime.  6 year old throws the PoutyDidNotGetWhatIWantException quite frequently. 

    And they all throw the IHaveNoIdeaWhatIsWrongException a lot.  This is apparently a bug in all children?

    By VHMPrincess on 2008 10 16

  11. yeah…glad to know I’m not the only one grin.  I’m right there with ya sista.

    By zoesmom on 2008 10 16

  12. I loathe four.  A four-year-old acts like a two-year-old but should know better.  It is evidence of the grace from some higher power that my children both survived being four.

    By karen on 2008 10 16

  13. Stop right now, go back and read your blog from around the time she was born.  Remember all of those sleepless nights?  The screaming?  The “what in the hell is wrong NOW!??!?!”  moments? The “fall over exhausted” mornings after?  Sometimes all you need is a walk down memory lane to drop to your knees and be thankful you’re past that part.  Of course, parenthood is a long road of screaming/sleepless nights/pulling out your hair/exhaustion.  Just be assured that you’re not alone….  *hugz*

    By Anne on 2008 10 16

  14. I promise it gets easier.  Three is the worst.  We’re at 4 and a half with our youngest and he actually helps now.  Sure he sh*t on himself tonight because his father didn’t have ESP and know to get out of the bathroom faster, but he is sort of able to follow directions—okay sometimes.

    Hang in there sister.  She’s a cutie pie.

    By MammaLoves on 2008 10 16

  15. Honey, I love you. I’m sorry. It’s not just hard, it’s *impossible* to do it all. But we will anyway, because we’re moms - and what the fuck else are we going to do?

    By supermama on 2008 10 16

  16. Three and four are hard.  Everyone talks about the terrible twos, and how they grow out of it, but they take their time getting there.  I remember three wasn’t much better, and four isn’t either.  The tantrums just evolve into a different style.
    Take your time honey, get some rest (preferably away from the kids if you can).  Things will look up in the end.  I’m hanging on for when he turns 18.

    By Vic on 2008 10 17

  17. I know plenty of kids that seem especially strong-willed, even when their parents are the most awesome, calm, good influencing, and good discipliners (not a word, but whatever) of all time.  She tests because she can and because at 4, she’s astute enough to realize it’s frustrating for you.  Mothers and daughters do that.  Forever.  Happy birthday to her!

    By Jen on 2008 10 17

  18. Happy birthday, LB! You’re doing fine, Momma. Deep breaths…. 4.5 is better than 4 here…

    By Marie on 2008 10 17

  19. Congratulations on making it through the first four years. Mine is nearly five, so you can check out my blog and get a taste of what’s ahead. I’d love to tell you the logic and resoning lightbulb turns on on day 4.1, but it doesn’t. The tantrums get louder, though. Don’t worry, the good stuff is enough to make the bad stuff livable. If not, there’s always a mommy-rita!

    By Fear & Parenting in Las Vegas on 2008 10 19

  20. My heart aches because I’m kinda in the same situation with Carter and he’s three. I don’t understand WHY he doesn’t understand and how I can do better to make him understand.
    Then I take a step back and realize that he’s THREE and well, I’m older and it’s taken me this long to get it… LOL

    Then there’s the baby that I can’t reason with whatsoever. Makes em nuts. LOL

    By sam {temptingmama} on 2008 10 20