She didn’t say sorry. She never says sorry. She hurt my feelings. Mummy doesn’t like me.
Poor Rosie. She is standing by the oil heater again, muttering a tearful monologue. I’m dead. I’m a spirit now. You don’t have a child any more… Are you sad? Are you sad that I’m dead?
When I say I am sad, she says: You’re not. You don’t want a child. You don’t like me. When I say I love her, she says I don’t. I’m dead, she repeats. When I protest that she isn’t really dead, because the dead don’t usually speak, she simply says: I’m dead.
The catalyst for this behaviour can be anything really. This morning, there are a series of meltdowns that begin with underpants – pouffy underpants, I should add – in which she rages that the underpants are bothering her, followed by an extended lament over her vest (You have to pull it down. You’re talking. SO YOU HAVE TO PULL IT DOWN AGAIN.) She wants me to tuck in her vest but she is sitting down. I mime to her to stand up (since I’m not allowed to speak to her while she dresses), but she decides this is a game and wastes several minutes going limp as I try to hold her up in a standing position.
Eventually, we get her school uniform on, vest and all, but we don’t get out the door until I have pulled down her vest and shirt another six times to straighten it out under her pinafore. The blood is finally shooting up to my temples now and it is taking a lot of heavy breathing (I try not to breathe too loudly for fear that this, too, may constitute talking) to keep me from exploding.
But when we get out the door and she demands that I pull her shirt down again, I lose it and shout: You are going on the late register AGAIN!!!
Of course this unleashes a barrage of tears and some very public tantrumming on Rosie’s part. My neighbours are staring and I am mortified, but they have seen me in nuclear mode with Rosie, too, so I now figure they have me down as some social services nightmare. I am dismayed.
I spend the rest of the day asking myself why I always revert to type and shout, when I know this will do nothing to help Rosie. And when I get her back home, she starts again – shouting and screaming at me without warning, demanding that I help her remove her sweatshirt NOW. RIGHT NOW!
I don’t shout at her. I just tell her she is behaving badly, that I am trying to get her dinner ready and that I will be with her in a minute. When she throws herself on the kitchen floor, I ignore her. She calms down after a little while and by the time we finish dinner, we are back to being friends.
Until the morning comes and the lines are drawn again.
- “I HATE you, Mummy!” (marriedtoalcoholic.wordpress.com)
- “You’re the most beautiful, cleverest girl I know” (marriedtoalcoholic.wordpress.com)