She said it calmly, as we were de-pressurizing from a minor altercation.
It was simple. Her backpack was open. She was chattering away down the drive way. I said, “Stop!” and she didn’t so I said it again. Then again. Finally, I hit the car to make a loud noise so she would listen. (It was already an exercise in stupidity.) She stopped. I zipped her backpack. I said, “Let’s try this again.” She didn’t want to, but she did.
“I thought you told me to stop talking. So I did.” She is a sparkling, spirited and obedient girl. I tell her something once and she usually does it. If she doesn’t I start counting, 1, 2, 3) and she hates that so much she straightens up very quickly. (There is no spanking at number five, or anything like that – she just hates being counted on.) I explained it was because I wanted her to stop walking with her open backpack. “Maybe we can communicate better next time? You can stay ‘stop’ but you can explain what you want me to stop.” (She just turned seven and is able to analyze the conflict better than many adults.)
Next time was going to be right now, so we went back to the porch and tried again. We walked to school. She asked me, “Why did you hit the car?”
“Because I wanted you to listen to me.”
“It just scared me.”
We had a short discussion on whether I am a “mean mommy” or not. I probably am a partially mean mommy. I think that children use that phrase to garner revenge on their parents but I don’t think that is what she was trying to do, I think she was trying to quantify her experience. Two years ago the mommy of which she said, “you don’t just cook and cuddle, you do all things loving,” was not acting like someone who does “all things loving.” This required a new evaluation of the situation.
I am not a yeller. I can lose my temper, but if I do, I try to remove myself from the situation and check in later. It was a source of pride for me that I had yelled or snapped at her less than five times by the time she was five. It just wasn’t part of my parenting tool kit. Mind you there were plenty of other things I squeezed in the kit that were both ridiculous and futile, it’s just that yelling or stomping my feet or hitting the car had not been one of them.
Earlier in the week I was on the phone with something to do with the bills. I was on the computer, and my husband was on one side of the breakfast bar and my daughter on the other. They were asking me to press 1 for blah blah and 2 for another blah and three for blah blah blah. I couldn’t hear, I had already pushed the wrong button once and I raised my voice (notice: didn’t even yell) “Stop talking!”
My husband was surprised, and I was shocked. Small was terrified and confused. I said I was sorry, even though I felt justified. I should have taken the computer and phone upstairs, but that didn’t occur to me until about three minutes ago.
So I was being grouchy. I don’t know what is happening to me. I don’t think it’s a bipolar/OCD/ADD thing – I think it’s a human thing. A bipolar thing might be to throw the phone at the offending party. (I don’t throw things, though). An ADD thing might tap into her secret spider sense to be able to hyper focus, or at least moved her computer out of the way. I don’t know how OCD might play into it, but I’m sure there is some way to blame it and not take responsibility for my own actions. (A charged statement. Many times my mood takes chemically over my body, but this was not the situation.)
I’ve been doing yoga pretty regularly, and it has helped a lot as far as feeling like my body is healthy and my mind is clearer. It hasn’t helped with my mood, though. I need to spend more time in the Bible, in my DBT (Dialectal Behavior Therapy) and to take my pills. That will be enough to probably keep me stable. Then again, bipolar still wins sometimes.
I’ll be gone for the next few days, so I won’t be on the computer until Sunday/Monday. Be well over the next few days.