Clearly Girlchild's occupying lots o' space in my brain these days. Here's the latest account published in The Perth Courier on Tuesday, Feb. 10/09.
When divas go dancing
Naturally, as Mother of the Year, I’m always looking for good threats to use in order to quell bad behaviour around the house. It’s a fine art, you see, because you have to be darned sure you are ready to follow through on said threat before issuing it. For instance, threatening to remove all chocolate from the house would be just, well, silly. Mom Ineeda needs her chocolate, after all.
Boychild has always been fairly responsive to threats to revoke privileges. Generally, the possibility of losing computer time for a few days, for example, is enough to stop naughtiness in its tracks.
Girlchild? Not so much.
I am developing a depressingly large repertoire of threats and admonishments for use upon Miss Diva McDivaness, who is apparently going through an endless “phase” right now. Despite the fact her tantrums over minutiae can be enough to send a frazzled parent stark raving, I’ve gotta give the girl points for decisiveness – not to mention persistence. Where I’m all Libra and have trouble making up my mind about things, she knows what she wants, when she wants it, how often it should happen, who should be wearing what when it happens, what the weather should be like and which planets should be aligned, thank you very much.
If she doesn’t get it just that way (which happens more than she would like because, darn it, we’re not bowing to pressure from a three-year-old and sometimes the planets just won’t cooperate), screaming and flailing and gnashing of teeth will follow (by her and sometimes by me).
Sigh. It’s good times. Truly.
Here’s an example. We’re at Nan and Grampy’s for a family dinner. We’ve had a lovely afternoon and supper. It’s getting fairly close to home time. Her Divaness requests apple juice. Well, we’re all out of apple juice – wait until we get home.
This. Would. Not. Do. She falls to pieces.
“What is this about?” her aunt innocently asks as Mom Ineeda (Valium) sits with a screeching Girlchild in a chair to try to navigate the storm.
“There’s no apple juice,” Nan explains.
Well it all makes sense, then! This is truly an International Incident of Epic Proportion! Somebody call the U.N.!
The storm raged and died and peace soon returned to the valley, despite the fact there was no apple juice and no one intended to drop everything and rush out and buy some. This is the kind of thing that happens in DivaWorld.
There has been a subtle change, though, a tiny shift in the stormy wind that I am (fingers and toes crossed) hoping is perhaps a sign of some sort of latent maturity just waiting to erupt and show its beautiful sunny, happy, smiley, contented, non-tantrummy face.
We call this wondrous thing “dance lessons.”
Since mid-January, Girlchild has been getting decked out once a week in pink (imagine!) tights, a pale blue bodysuit and an enormous grin and we set off. She and a roomful of girls get an hour of ballet and tap and I get to have a coffee and chat with grown-ups. Hurrah for dance lessons!
Best of all, she loves this time so much that the threat of cancelling a session is enough to stop a tantrum before it starts. I can actually hear the little hamster turning the wheels when she contemplates something she has done and how it may lead to the consequence of Mom Ineeda phoning “The Dance Lady” to inform of her impending absence from class.
Recently she made the mistake of jumping on her prone brother’s back when he wasn’t expecting it and, after appropriate apologies and forgiveness was dispensed, she approached me twice to quietly emphasize she “didn’t mean it, Mom, and I apologized and…and…can I still have my dance lessons?”
For many reasons that was a sweet moment! Maybe, just maybe, it was a breakthrough. For now, as the Terrible Twos morph into the Will-This-Craziness-Ever-End Threes, I have to remember some of the very good advice I have been given by friends recently: “Stay the course,” “This, too, shall pass” and, my favourite, “Brace yourself for when she’s a teenager, honey.”