I told you about meeting Summer at the playground. Well let me tell you what happened after she left.
I got tired very quickly of pushing my kids on the swings. It takes a lot out of me to do anything physical right now. I say this as my back throbs and I can barely walk after babysitting all day and a super long drive home. Anyway, I told the kids I needed to sit down on the bench and to please play on the other stuff there. They did fine for the first 20 minutes. Then I decided it was inching ever too close to naptime and we needed to leave.
I gave the usual 5 minute warning. “Kids, we are leaving in 5 minutes.”
“You have 3 minutes left.”
“One more minute.”
“Alright, turkeys, it’s time to go now.”
The response at that point is usually “one more minute, mom, pleassssse?”
I give in. Always. I give in. What’s another 60 seconds?
Brianna has been telling me on a daily basis “you’re not my mom, I’m not your daughter anymore” when she isn’t getting her way. I’ve tried many different ways of handling this. I’ve even laughed it off and told her she’s being ridiculous. I’ve never made a big deal of it because I don’t want her to think for a second that she’s getting to me. Well, that tactic wasn’t working. And even though she wasn’t hurting my feelings I needed to get her to stop saying that and be more respectful. But how?
Yesterday after they asked for “one more minute, mom” I said “alright, guys, let’s go” and started walking towards the gate. They, of course, threw into hysterics like I was asking them to walk across burning coals on bare feet. For crying out loud! I get no respect [in my best Rodney Dangerfield voice].
Brianna plants her feet, puts her hands on her hips, and screams “you are NOT my mom and I don’t love you anymore”.
Four heads turned to see my reaction — all of them parents.
I laughed and said “is that right”. She said “yes and I’m not your daughter”.
“Are you sure, Brianna, because that means I won’t be responsible for feeding you lunch.”
“I’m sure” she tells me.
“Ok let’s go” I say and open the gate.
She stomps out of the play area and down the stairs into the van. Once inside and safely out of range of parents that might hear me I say “when we get home I will make a phone call and get you a new mommy”.
She. Freaked. Out.
I mean she went ballistic. She wanted daddy.
“No, honey, if I’m not your mommy then daddy is not your daddy. I’ll get you a new daddy too and while I’m at it this also means Jeremy is not your brother and the new baby is not your sibling so you’ll have to hope that your new parents have kids so you can have siblings.”
She cried and kicked and screamed and begged me to be her mommy again.
I said “no and call me Heidi — don’t call me mommy because I am no longer your mommy. Call daddy Rich because he is not your daddy either.”
I think she swallowed her tongue right then. Silence. Well, silence all except for the funny noises she was making as her breathing had been interrupted by the massive earth quake she was causing herself.
I tried not to laugh. Is that evil? I seriously had to stifle it in a big, big way. But somehow I knew this was working. I knew it. I just knew it.
We got about a mile from home when she started apologizing. I told her “thank you for doing that and remember your manners when you meet your new mommy and daddy later today”.
She. Freaked. Out. All. Over. Again.
I shoved away the twinge of guilt and the desire to hug her and kiss her and reassure her. I fought the urge to comfort her — and it was there this time.
We got home and daddy came out to help me unload everyone and everything. She looked like she was going to pass out from anger, frustration, fear… all sorts of emotions and her eyes told me she was in agony. I felt bad. I did, but I didn’t stop. I fought it again.
Daddy was not liking what I was doing and asked me twice to stop. I didn’t stop. I told him “she will learn not to ever say those hateful things to me again and this is how I intend to make her stop”. He rolled his eyes at me and I could tell he was very much less than pleased. He hugged her and told her everything would be ok and that she just needed a nap.
Finally, after putting Jeremy down for his nap, I took her by the hand and led her to her room and put her in her bed. I didn’t do my normal lovie routine though. I warned her that if she ever said “you’re not my mommy” to me again that I would pull down her pants and spank her rear end right there in the middle of wherever we are “and I’m not kidding so don’t you dare try it”.
When she woke up from her nap we cuddled, I explained that there is no way I’d give her to another mommy or daddy ever, that she is a very important part of our family, we love her very much, and that she can live with us her whole life if she wants to. BUT!!!! “Do not ever say hateful things to me again because those words hurt mommy and I love you with all my heart.”
She hasn’t said it since.
Twice she almost did, but she caught herself and just walked away with her hands on her hips.
It was harsh.
It was hard.
But it worked.
Ever had to pull
out the tough love
card to get through
to your kid?