This little girl keeps me on my toes. She is sweet, smart and stubborn. She is caring, cute and compassionate. She is wild, weird and did I mention wild? And she is currently going through a rebellious stage that leaves me wondering what the teenage years are going to be like around here.
I joined a playgroup a few weeks ago so Emma and I would have more things to do together and with other moms and kids. I thought maybe if we got out of the house more we would struggle less with each other. Turns out I was wrong.
Last Thursday I spent two hours making three batches of homemade scented play do with Em so we could take 15 baggies full of the stuff to play group to share with the other little kids who would be there the next morning. Because whoever heard of just going to the store and buying play do? Now I know it was supposed to be fun but I am a person that gets carried away by things which normally leads to great stress. I stressed over what scent to choose. I stressed over the color. And then I stressed when the non stick pan I chose to cook it in started flaking its nonstick magic metal in little tiny bits all over my orange play do. Would I give the other children nonstick metal poisoning?
Friday morning dawned bright and full of hope. I told Emma pretty early on that she needed to clean up her room and make her bed before we could go to the play do exchange. Please keep in mind this is something I make her do on a daily basis. We even have a sticker chart in her room as a reward for getting her stuff done. After about 30 minutes I asked her if she was done with her room. And this is what I heard, "MOM! I can't do it!" So I said, "Emma, you do this every day. Get it done so we can go to play group." And she said "MAMA! I just can't remember how to make up my bed. I'm trying to think of how but I just don't know. " Now, that was a lie. I knew it was a lie. So I told her she had five minutes to make up her bed or we would not be going to the play do exchange.
Approximately 8 seconds later she came and told me that her chore was done. And then she asked me if I would like to come look at her bed. So I did. And what I saw was every single toy that had been on her floor thrown onto the bed with all of her pillows and blankets thrown on top of them. Very messy. And very un-Emma like. This is a girl that organizes her underwear/sock drawer regularly. So I asked her what happened. And she said "I did it. It's just sloppy." The end. So I took everything she had carelessly tossed on her bed and carried it to my bedroom and told her it all belonged to me now. Because I am mean. If she can't take care of her things then she can't have things.
What ensued was a tantrum to rival the dreaded French Braid tantrum of the week before. She cried. She threw things. She told me I was the meanest mommy ever. So I told her that she needed to calm down or we would not be going to the play group. Eventually, she got it together enough that I thought we could give play group a try. You have to remember that play group is as much for me as it is for Emma Mae. I get to talk to other moms and have my child entertained by other friends for a minute. So I selfishly wanted to go.
We got in the car. About five minutes into the ride little girl threw her blanket at me. Then she started kicking my chair. Then she cried about her car seat buckle being "too tight." Shocker. So I calmly explained to Em that we would have to go to play group and drop off our play do for the other kids and then go home because she was not behaving properly. She got her act together. By the time we got to the park she was being almost pleasant.
Against every parenting manual out there I told her that I was going to give her one last chance. We would go play and we would stay as long as she had a good attitude and a happy heart. About five minutes later she was kicking dirt on me and whining about wanting to go swing rather than do the play do swap. So I took her by the hand and led her back to the car to go home. That was a long walk of shame as I felt the eyes of the other mama's boring into my back and judging me for being so mean.
As I put Emma in the car I said something like "it's really too bad that we couldn't stay and play with new friends and get some fun play do to use at home." And she said "mama, I didn't want that stinkin' play do anyway and I don't need any more friends!" When I mentioned that I would like to have more friends she told me that I had enough already too.
And as we drove home my four year old daughter informed me that I had a bad attitude and that God didn't like it. Then she said that she really missed the old mama who used to always be nice to her and never talked mean and always helped her make up her bed. She continued the tantrum when we got home and had to go to her room for a long period of time while she kept on about wanting the nice mama back. Good times. I also heard the ever popular "I won't stop crying and saying mean things until you say something nice to me! I want that mama that helps me make up my bed!" That's when I realized two things. Number one-Emma Mae can hold a grudge longer than a Hatfield or McCoy. And number two-she was probably hungry. So I fed her a hot dog and we had a pretty pleasant afternoon together playing with the stinky play do my neighbor dropped off for us after she was done with play group.