Seven

21 08 2009

Six years old was lovely. I liked it a lot. My daughter became rational and reasonable and, well, human.

I miss six years old.

Seven years old? Seven is more like they shoved 10 PMSing teenagers into my former daughter’s body. I get yelled at regularly and the attitude… OH THE ATTITUDE. She’s rude and it’s painful to hear. It drains me of energy and makes me snap back.

It’s been awhile since I have felt this floundering, drowning feeling as her mother – like I can only doggy paddle us through life and I hope dragging her along behind me is going to be good enough. The kind of feeling where I question myself as her mama. Helpless, blind, afraid.

Yesterday we left the park early because of her attitude – I’d snapped at her that if she didn’t stop yelling we’d leave (oh yes, I see the irony) – and once we were in the car, she broke down into tears, because, really, she can’t control it. I have heard many, many mamas of seven-year-old girls comment on this age – I know I am not alone. Yet, as a mother – particularly in front of other parents – I feel the need to provide consequences for her behavior. So she will know it’s not OK to treat me as such. So she will not grow up being rude. But the fact is that I cannot punish this behavior out of her any more than I could punish three-year-old tantrums out of her. At her heart she is a good person, a kind and loving girl, and she wants only good things for me. I know this. I know she will not grow up rude just because she is rude at seven-years-old.

And so, I am making a point to remember this, to be more patient with her. To try to ignore it, because nothing else works. To ride it out and doggy-paddle to a more polite age when we can float on calmly again.

And, as with everything in life, there is the good within as well. She is bright and mature and funny and loving and fabulous. I think I tend to let out the negative online and, in some cases, in person because I need it out of me. I may hold more tightly to the positive because it keeps me going. In other words, if I appear pessimistic – it is not so. I just don’t need to verbally process the positive because it is, well, positive. I hold that close to my heart and reflect upon it often.

My girl and I – we’re going to be OK.

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5 responses

21 08 2009
internetfruit

I have a toddler so I am almost embarrased to attempt at offering encouragement.

But, I remember – very clearly – my sister being like this. My poised, calm, easy-going, sweet, loving sister who is curled up reading a book in her bedroom in my apartment. She is so lovely and enjoyable that my mother, father, and I all argued over who got to live with her during her last two years of college.

But, being six years older than her, I remember ages 7-15 very clearly. The way she spoke to her mother (though, never to anyone else), her attitude, and the tantrums that sometimes involved her sliding down the wall and flopping around on the floor.

She didn’t grow up rude, or sarcastic, or angry.

Oh, and she is the closest of all of us, to her mother.

21 08 2009
ZebraBelly

Thank you for that, Katherine – I really needed to hear it. πŸ™‚

22 08 2009
Jess

I could have written this post, as you know. Except I wouldn’t have expressed my feelings so eloquently πŸ™‚

24 08 2009
Luci

Lola is 5, turning 16 in October. At least that’s how it feels to me! She has the attitude and rudeness already down pat. I can see that she is clearly just trying to work out all her emotions, yet I lose patience & feel pressure to ‘put the attitude in check’. Next thing I know, we both sound like a couple of teenagers snapping back at each other. Not cool. I’m trying really hard to be patient with her and remember that this doesn’t mean she’ll be an unpleasant adult! Thanks for writing about it!

15 09 2009
kelli

I remember this stage hitting both my nieces around age 8. The 15 yr old is awesome, helpful and sweet. The 12 yr old still has some time. I don’t look forward to this at all. I’m not happy to hear that it starts a year earlier. Only two to go. Good luck.

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