Wednesday, November 18, 2009

4 year old hormones

I have had a long week with Isabelle. Not that she isn't normally emotional, I am learning to accept this as a part of having a daughter, but it has been exceptionally bad this week and particularly today. As I put her to bed tonight even she commented on the fact that she had been having "a rough day". Yes indeedy she had been.

It started off fairly normal and so I didn't note the usual break downs that go with getting out of the house in the morning and we managed to have a fairly pleasant lunch with my parents (a pre birthday celebration since they will be out of town. I blessed them with a preview of my fabulous birthday present which I will reveal here this weekend.)

Then in the afternoon while spending a little time on my computer hanging out with her friends the Disney princesses she drops some pencil lead she found while rifling through my desk drawers into my keyboard and proceeds to pop off about 7 keys before I came upon this little scenario. I calmly asked her to get off the chair and step away from my computer and then proceeded to calmly assess the damage. She tells me it is an accident and then asks me if I am mad at her. Yes I tell her I am mad at her. Crying and carrying on occurs and she goes to her room for quite a long time. Now you might think it is remorse she is feeling but no in fact she is indignant that I would dare to be mad at her when it was an "accident". Eventually she comes out all red faced and we talk about it and she does seem to understand that she was wrong and apologize. In case you are wondering I did get a couple to pop back on but every time I type a B or V I have to put in a little more effort while J and and Alt key are completely unattached. Which actually seem to work better at times than the loose keys. My husband assures me he will be able to fix it.

Tonight as we are leaving for church she tries to race her 15 year old brother to the car and when he does not let her win I find her crying in the backyard. Move on with your life girlfriend he is 10 years older. Life isn't fair. It won't be the last time you loose. Losing is part of life. And so on as we are pulling out of the driveway toward church. I also made her congratulate Jake for a job well done beating her to the car. I am exhausted from a day of managing her emotions.

I relax briefly during the dinner the church serve while she plays with a friend. When it is time to go the friends mom calls and her daughter obediently comes while Isabelle throws herself on the floor crying because Emily didn't wait for her and she wants to keep playing with Emily and on and on and on. Once I get her moving she then DEMANDS I give her my bottle of water. The only reason I brought her to her class is because I really felt I needed my hour and a half praying with friends tonight. When I returned to pick her up my daughter who charms everyone she meets and so was wonderful during class, immediately started crying because she didn't want to go with me. After a few minutes of sympathetic chatting with the class leaders about having an emotional girl I was able to get her out without too much drama and get home.

More drama into bed where she was apparently feeling my pain as she acknowledged what a rough day she was having. She cried herself to sleep for reasons only she is aware of.

As I have had a few moments spread throughout the day to think about this behavior and how to deal with it and why I feel so overwhelmed by it when I felt so energized by Jake's bad pre-school behavior, I had a thought. It isn't that I can't deal with her impulsive behavior like popping off the keys on my keyboard. It isn't that I don't know how to deal with her selfishness or her sometimes unrepentant heart or her impatience or her competitiveness or her need for control, her bossiness, her demands, her smart mouth and the many other character and behavior issues that come up throughout a day or week. The problem I realized, the thing that is overwhelming me and keeping me frozen in my tracks, is the fact that so many of these issues come up in one day, sometimes in one sitting. How do I put a plan together to deal with every one of these issues?

My revelation is that it isn't one issue, it is many issues. And I can't come up with a plan for all of them but I need to take each one as it comes. As I think of it there are a few behavior themes that I could be thinking on but I guess with an emotional little girl the trick will be to not get stuck in one place but to be ready to switch gears and move from issue to issue. Luckily as a woman I am somewhat familiar with experiencing various emotions from moment to moment without clutching so I am well equipped to handle this parenting challenge. Do you think God planned it that way?

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