Monday, February 12, 2018

Almost Six… Oh the Sass!

Believe it or not, we’re going to have a six-year-old in less than ONE month. Yes, she’s going to be six and I can’t even. I would say that this past year has flown by with our gal, but that wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is that 5-year-olds are so damn sassy and smart as hell and have usually figured out all of their parents tricks to keeping them in line, by this age.
Or is this just the case with us?
To say that Gracie is a “spirited child” would be putting it mildly. The girl is on, 24/7. She is a non-stop question asker and opinion giver, who feels ALL-THE-FEELS. She’s not content to just watch TV or chill for more than 30 minutes at a time. She refuses to sleep-in, unless it’s a school day (of course) and ughhhh those weekday mornings before school… *cue head exploding*
Have you ever tried to wake {what I’m convinced is the human equivalent of a sloth} and get them to put it into high gear and get out of bed – without inciting a meltdown?
Have you tried brushing the long mermaid like hair of an almost-six-year-old who refuses to let you completely brush it the night before?
Have you ever asked your kid 12 times (like literally 12 times, in one morning) to brush their teeth, only to discover on the drive to school that they didn’t brush their damn teeth?!
Have you ever tried dressing a kiddo of this age who is determined to be their own stylist, pick their own everything and always fights wearing a jacket, even if it’s freezing out?
Have you ever cried on the way to work because your morning of wrangling your almost-six-year-old out of bed and out the door proved to be just.too.much?
Well, if you have, you’re not alone. I have too! I sooo have and Gawd help us if it doesn’t get easier when Grace turns six.


Our gal goes through phases. She’ll be the sweetest, most helpful daughter a mom could ask for, for weeks on end – and then, like a Gremlin whose been doused in water, she’ll wake up and wreak havoc on her moms, pushing every button possible for a solid week, or two... or sometimes, even three. I’ve tried to figure out what causes these changes in her behavior. Is she going through a growth spurt? Is she consuming too much sugar? Is something happening at school that we’re not aware of? Do we need to get her to bed earlier? Does she not like me right now (yeah, that’s an honest question I’ve asked myself in my most desperate parenting moments). Is she feeling envious of her little brother? Are all almost-six-year-olds just little assholes, sometimes?!
Yeah, I said it and don’t judge me, because it’s a valid question.
When it comes to school, Gracie is as close to perfect as she could be. Her teachers adore her, like literally all of them love her. Her music, art, PE, computer, classroom and classroom aid teachers sing her praises on the regular. We’re told she’s kind and inclusive of who she plays with and how she plays. The kid made Student of the Month in the first few months of school and was selected because of how caring she is with others. She’s tested at a first-grade level since the start of Kindergarten and has had zero issues with paying attention or being respectful in class.
So why do I have to continuously get on her case about the tone of voice she uses with her grandparents, who watch her after school? Why do I find myself constantly having to talk with her about the sass she gives Georgia and I? Why does she argue when we put something healthy in front of her to eat for dinner, when she has no problems scarfing down her healthy sack lunch at school? Why does she think it’s ok to have a meltdown anytime she’s sent to her room, even if it’s following a third warning? Why does she do so great for so many weeks, being her sweet self – only to then take a nosedive every couple of months, totally acting unlike herself? Because she’s our first, I have no frame of reference as to whether this is “normal”. 
Are these highs and lows “normal”?
In all honesty, I’m inclined to blame the holidays for the creation of our tiny terrorist these past couple of weeks. From the months of October to January, girlfriend was showered with things like candy, costumes, school parties, hyper holidays spent with cousins; holiday vacation, Christmas wish lists, more sugar… You get the idea. The showering of presents from all directions has been endless and I feel like the holidays were a trigger like this last year too. She gets so exhausted and then overly emotional + overstimulated + spoiled and then the bad behavior ensues. This is when I go into full-on regulator mode. It’s like the more she acts out, the more my iron fist comes crashing down, desperate to put a stop to it. She doesn’t like it when this happens and I don’t like it either. We’re both stubborn (the apple didn’t fall far) and the more I push, the more she pushes back.
One thing I’m thankful for is that these behaviors aren’t the norm and I’m grateful that I only have to deal with my little Wreck-it-Ralph of a daughter a few times a year, because when the tough weeks hit, they hit hard and I’m left feeling like I’m going to lose my shit. This is basically how I’ve felt mid-December until about a week ago.
Some days I 100% do lose my shit – and then Georgia gets pissed and acts as though I’m this horrible mother who has overreacted and how dare I have a response to the bad behavior that’s playing out right in front of me. For G, everything I’ve mentioned above is just white noise. She can block out the whining and arguing and sass. She will almost always say nothing when she observes Grace giving attitude to her parents, or she’ll say she didn’t notice this or didn’t hear her say that… You get the idea. The bad behavior itself doesn’t bother Georgia, the majority of the time and according to my co-parent, I should “just let it go to” when I see these things happen – but I CAN’T!!! I feel this huge responsibility to raise a respectful, appreciative and patient kid, because these things matter, damn it! And so, as a result, I’m often put in the position of being the “bad guy”, the mean mama.
When I was growing up, I was spanked (with a belt) anytime I misbehaved. I had to answer my parents with, “yes, sir” and “no, ma’am” whenever they asked me a question. No meant no and I didn’t dare talk disrespectfully or shout and throw fits, because there were always consequences. With this being said, my siblings and I were not perfect children and I have clear memories of having such feelings of anger toward my dad anytime he spanked us. I loved him to death and he was such a loving dad in all other aspects, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around being hit. It just felt wrong. It’s because of this that we don’t spank Gracie, but believe me when I say that there are days that I want to. Sometimes I feel like that’s all that will get through to her and that’s usually when things start to change. It’s always when I’m nearing the end of my rope that my sweet girl is herself again. I mean, WTF is that about? I’m always glad when life returns to normal, but I’m also like, what the hell were those past couple of weeks?!!  

I wanted to write this post back in March, right before the baby was born and Grace was acting out, but I hesitated. I knew our sister-to-be was going to have some big things to adjust to and I didn’t want to seem insensitive to that. Following this last tough period though, during the holidays, I felt the need to share my experience. I felt this way because this is the real-life struggles some of us parents go through, as we raise these tiny humans. Yes, kiddos are adorable and the greatest gift on Earth, but it isn’t all smiles and pie in the sky parenting bliss. This shit can be SO HARD. You don’t always know how to navigate the storms that parenting puts in your path. You make mistakes. You say or do all the wrong things. You freak out when you feel that a new bad behavior may become permanent. You stress and compare your parenting struggles to other people’s parenting highlights. It’s emotional and consuming, but there’s also no more important work to be done in this world then to produce healthy and happy kids. So, I’ll end with saying that we’ve weathered this phase and I’ll hopefully be better equipped to handle the next challenge these kids throw my way.
Here’s a few of my favorite pictures of our sassy and (mostly) sweet Sister Bear!
She's one of a kind, this one.


And because she’s just so dang smart, I must include this quick mom brag! The Bean’s Unit 3 Kindergarten Island project is finished and I’m so proud of her! She did 100% of the building of her island, from the newspaper, to plaster, to paint, to labeling everything! We just had to help with the glue gun. Our big girl. She makes us so proud!



6 comments:

  1. Girl girl girl. I hear you so hard!!! And I fully appreciate when parents are honest about their kids. Children can be fucking assholes for sure!! They are people with their own personalities and sometimes they kinda suck. I have 2 of my own who at times I would like to send to a convent high in the mountains of Siberia.
    And I also have a wife who doesn't always hear/see/notice the behavior that makes me fume. We talk about it a lot and I think she's finally starting to really see that we don't want to send little brats out into the world. We're trying to raise decent humans for fucks sake.
    And that's why sometimes my daughters go to bed at 5:45. For their own good and mine.
    Text me and I'll tell you what happened with Maya just last night. Grrrrrrrrrrr

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    1. LOL! I know I say this all the time, but I just love you Stacy! ;) I meant to text you last night and then I found myself knee deep in Valentine's Day projects and then it was midnight! I'll text you today.

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  2. Nope, no shame. You are totally right. In all this. Same. Same. Same. I was spanked. We don't spank. I can't tell you how many times the urge has hit to change direction with that decision. Kids can be assholes. Plain and simple truth. Especially ones today. It is like an entire generation of little kings and queens are coming up the pipeline and us parents are just holding on and trying to do better than our parents did. Hang in there, Mama. Fwiw, year seven wasn't "that bad."

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    1. I feel like everything above is never really talked about openly with most parents, so you're left feeling alone in the struggle. I've always appreciated your honesty regarding REAL LIFE parenting. The good and the bad.

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  3. FIRST TIME COMMENTER
    All kids humans have there ups and downs. Its normal. Everyone has a good day and bad day.
    Whenever we fought my mom about the hair she threatened to shave it off. The house rule was that as long as we let her wash and brush it we can keep it. The minute we fought she threatened. I remember she gave my sister a bob after she fought too much.

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    1. Hi there! Thanks for commenting.:) I laughed when I read about your sister's bob because the same exact thing happened to my sister and she ended up having short hair until she was around 10 years old. Gracie LOVES having long "mermaid hair" just like I had when I was little, so I'm willing to battle it out with her to brush it. Having said that, there are many days that I want to grab the scissors and cut it off, haha!

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Thanks so much for keeping up with our little family! We love reading your comments and will get back to you as soon as we can.

K+G+g+w ♥

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