Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Mean One

"I love you Daddy - but I don't like it when you won't let me do things."

These last few weeks of parenting have been rather unpleasant. My daughter is just an emotional mess. I had to change her shirt because she'd dripped grape juice all over herself. She cried because then she wouldn't be the prettiest girl in school. As you all know girls who are wearing white shirts that look like they've been used to wipe Barney's arse are the epitome of beauty. So I got her a new shirt and she cried at that. Because it wasn't a dress. In the end I tried to paper over it all by letting her wear a dress over her shirt and jeans. It looks like a Hipster thing but who gives a shit - we're foreign so don't know any better. I tried putting her hair up as well and did okay. But knowing it would last maybe ten minutes I told her to ask one of her teachers to sort it out when she got to school. She wanted me to put a yellow bandana in her hair. Bear in mind she's never ever had one on. And frankly I don't know how to do it. So I denied that one too. She bravely struggled not to cry again in front of me making me feel like the new prison guard employee who doesn't know the other guards beat the convicts that cry.

The reason for the comment at the top is because I wouldn't let her eat an entire Terry's Chocolate Orange. She had a few slices (that was the treat I mentioned earlier) but demanded more. I really don't want you to think she's one of those abhorrent rude kids because she isn't at all. But crying because she couldn't have that on top of everything else pissed me off. You don't cry because you got a treat but want more. That's backwards in every way. So she told me I was being mean again. Again! She tried to recount the evening before when she got into trouble for doing something her mother told her not to (as in she was told not to - double checked what it was - then did it on purpose to take the piss) as another example of when I was mean to her. I wasn't even involved in that back-and-forth. But because she's just trying to be honest by saying she thinks it's mean and makes her sad when she can't live like a dictator it comes across like she's a spoiled brat. Which she isn't at all. She's just four.

She yelled at me a few minutes later because the clock is wrong. The battery is going but oddly it was fast. I don't understand that at all. So as I stood in a confused daze thinking that maybe I should get some of those brutal meds I don't like my daughter told me she had to go outside immediately to wait for the bus. Because she was late. Which she wasn't at all because she insisted on going outside to catch her bus (which comes at 12.15) at 11.30. In the rain. At 32 degrees. I told her no and that we probably won't go out at noon until April anymore because it will just be too bloody cold to do that. So she cried like I was beating her until 12.05 when I relented and we went outside. Unsurprisingly it was too cold and wet. She even complained about how cold she was (even with coat and gloves on) and that I should go get her a blanket. I suggested we go back inside and wait. Lip quivers and whimpering followed at the very notion of that. So she claimed she wasn't cold any more. Then she started wandering off to the driveway to jump puddles.

It's worth noting here that this is part of a child's logic that makes them think they are smarter than everyone around them. She knows she's not supposed to be in a puddle before school. Nor is she supposed to throw things in it or make it splash in anyway. But jumping it is not only neither of those things, but it's so obviously brilliant that she can be a total prick about how she's bending the rules to breaking point at the same time. "You can't do anything Daddy," she snottily remarked. I just told her not to jump the puddles. She ignored me. In spite of telling her firmly not to dick around on the driveway she went and tried jumping over puddles on the grass. Again - stupid rules mean nothing when they specify the driveway. Take that loser Dad. I'm sure it doesn't take a genius to figure out that sneakers on wet grass equals falling down and getting very cold and wet. Which she did instantly. Oddly she didn't get muddy at all. She cried even harder than before at the point.

I took her inside and had her changed within three or four minutes. It's wasn't even quarter after when she was stood on the couch accusing me of making her miss the bus. She somehow seemed to insinuate also that this whole falling down outside in the cold wet grass was down to me as well. I should point out at this point that being made to come back in the house made my son cry like I was beating him as well because we're supposed to follow the well established patterns of waiting outside until that yellow bus shows up. Which we hadn't done. Ergo the Earth will explode. When the bus showed up my daughter and I went out to it. My son then displayed an impressive multiple-personality disorder by refusing to even contemplate the idea of being outside. You see once the yellow bus has disappeared from view my son legs it to the front door to make it clear he wants to stay indoors. Because if we have errands to run or places to go he knows he will be asleep within 90 seconds of the car keys going into the ignition.

Feeling irritable and cranky I asked my son repeated questions about stuff we could do outside. "Hey - buddy - should we fill our pants with wet leaves!" He shook his head vigorously and refused to make eye contact. "Do you want to drink all the puddles on the driveway!? We can lie right down in them to do it!" To which he mumbled, "nonononnnonononononno" and twitched by the front door. A few more ridiculous questions and he just started growling and tried to hit me from about ten feet away. Meaning he missed me by almost ten feet. So I took him back inside and took his coat off. Then to really stick that cherry on top of the shitcake morning we've had he ran across the room and climbed onto the blue blanket to sulk. Which was when I noticed his foot was covered in dog shit.

The floor was easy enough to clean. Days like this I'm glad we don't have flooring yet. But he had smeared puppy pate all over the blue blanket my wife uses to stay warm in the evenings. Which has now been washed three times in two days already. First off to get the urine out of it he'd leaked whilst asleep on top of it a few days ago. The second wash was because after I took it out of the washing machine I threw it down the stairs. My son had no pants on as he'd just been to the toilet - but a squib of pee had puddled on the front of the ones he'd had on. I was upstairs getting clean ones. My son - presumably inspired by the water-like color of this blanket pissed a little on the floor. When I came down he was smilingly wiping up his mistake with the blanket. It was literally clean for maybe 20 seconds. When I brought it down clean yesterday my son wiped a honey-soaked English muffin all over it like he was attempting some gaudy conceptual art.

Actually she's just doing what all four year olds do. All those wankish television shows where some Super Nanny comes in to deal with nightmare kids are about four and five year old nutters testing their parents limits. My kid is doing that now. I've become sharply aware that I've let the parenting thing go where I think about what to do and then do it on purpose and am just getting irritated. I've stopped crouching down to her level so I don't seem like a big huge thing standing over her. I've stopped calmly asking her what she thinks she did wrong and what the consequences should be. I've stopped actually punishing her with harsh things that she hates but are no big deal to others (like no playing PBS Kids online for thirty minutes) to show I'm capable of punishing her properly. I've started moaning about her "doing it again" and then suggesting punishments that are impossible and not going to happen. Like that Christmas won't happen somehow. And because she's not getting all that stuff she hears me and her mother tell her not to do thing a lot more than she hears how good it was she did some other things. I know all this. It's Parenting 101. I'll have to get back on that.

Before she kills us all.

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