Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Independence Dance x 2

My 8-year-old and I are having a hard week. And it's only Tuesday.

My two-youngest, Raggedy Anne and Andy, are my second set of kids. I was married once before, and have two children from that marriage. Caity just turned 18 on Saturday, and we're doing a dance of independence ... her enjoying her newfound independence, and me learning to get along independently, without her childcare support for the two Raggedys. Jack, on the other hand, is turning 16 in August, and rarely makes an appearance at this point. They are "good" kids, by society's standards ... they don't drink, do drugs, have sex, skip school, or get bad grades. They are generally clean, healthy, and mostly respectful. We've spent the majority of their lives living with a shared parenting arrangement, so I feel like I've only half-raised them ... which means I can either take credit for all the good, feel guilty for all the bad, or figure we did a really good job of working together at raising these kids while living apart. The hardest part, I'd have to say, was being consistent and firm while raising them, but it seems to have worked.

Then there are the other two. Since Dad is the man of my dreams, and he seems to really like me too, these two poor children have no options but to be raised by me on a daily basis. The poor things!

Raggedy Anne is 8 ... she and I are also doing an independence dance. (Darn, I should've saved this post for July 4th, but it's relevant today so I'm not waiting.) Annie is struggling ... she wants to do what she wants to do, but she also wants Mom or Dad to do everything for her. She wants to eat right now because she's hungry and won't wait ... but she refuses to go look at the list and choose something that she's allowed to have right now, and get it for herself. She's also struggling with the idea that I am choosing what we are having (most of her issues revolve around food) and she doesn't always like the choices: eat what I fixed or be hungry. Then there are activity issues. She wants to watch tv, I want her to get dressed. She wants to watch a movie, I want her to practice her piano lesson. She wants to play with the kids next door, I want her to go grocery shopping with me (well, not really, but I don't have a choice other than to not go).

So Annie has been throwing childish fits. Yelling, screaming, interrupting me even when I'm trying desperately to stay calm, kicking her feet, sneaking downstairs when I've left her in her room, etc.

I want to throw a fit of my own! I'm tired of this. I want to whine and yell and ... and ... and WHATEVER!

A good solution to this problem would be if I could get up earlier, have my coffee and quiet time, and get through my morning computer time before anyone else is up. That way I would be ready when she gets up and could run the show efficiently before she has a chance to ask for what SHE wants only to be told no (I'm sorry but we are NOT having popsicles for breakfast ... until it's 90 degrees at 8 a.m.) and starts the fit-throwing.

The problem with this "rise earlier plan" is that she is also my night-owl. AND, has been waking me up in the middle of the night every night (nighttime fears). I'm just plain tired! I want to go to bed early to catch up, but can't get her to cooperate (again, the irrational fit-throwing dance of independence ... it's summer and she doesn't WANT to go to bed yet). I want to just sleep through the night so I can wake refreshed no matter what time I get up. And I want this for two, maybe even three nights in a row.

So, I must resort to getting by on interrupted sleep (I know it can be done, I've birthed 4 children!) until I can solve this sleeping problem (believe me, we're trying). In the meantime, I'm starting to really wish I had chosen to homeschool her LAST year, before she developed this attitude problem.

I know what the real problem is ... I'm trying hard to be consistent and firm. And she doesn't especially like that. She just wants what she wants. Boy, it's hard being 8.

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