Lately I have been fantasizing about how emotionally satisfying it would feel to throw my child… while she was still in the air of course. I don’t want to her to hit the ground. I just want to toss her out into the ether, so she floats away like the ever-expanding universe.
Here is the problem with parenting for me right now. The Munch has the capacity to be so insanely sweet and cute it is unbelievable. For example, the other day she said to me, “Mamma, when we hug, my heart goes into your body, and your heart comes into my body. Your heart is in my chest, and mine is in yours, so I will love you forever and ever.” I mean is that not the most endearing thing you have ever heard?
Yet at the same time, she also can be the biggest dick! It was one thing when she was a toddler and I had really low expectations. Yet now The Munch is more of a kid, and I keep thinking that we are past certain stages of behavior. At times she exhibits such compassion, empathy, and kindness that I naively believe that this is just who she is now. A semi-reasonable being that understands the need for compromise. So when The Munch is a selfish asshole it makes me feel like “What the fuck! We are back here again!?”
Her crappy attitude shocks me back into the reality that raising kids can blow. The Munch’s outbursts are also more extreme then in the past. She is trying on all sorts of new ways to express her discontent, including stomping her feet while giving me the stink eye. I don’t know where she gets the foot stomping death look, but it is insanely annoying. She is also more physically aggressive, pushy, and grabby when she is pissed, which is about as cute as a hemorrhoid on a baboon’s ass.
I am trying out some new strategies in an attempt to inspire a less prickish side of her personality. Most recently I have been thinking that having real discussions are a way to go. You see, The Munch seems to be operating with a lot of assumptions about the world that I feel like are creating an entitled perspective. I get the sense that she believes I do things for her because I owe it to her.
Munch: Mamma put on my Cinderella dress before I eat breakfast!!
Toni: Munch, that is no way tot talk to your mamma. If you want me to help you, it is important to ask for things nicely.
Munch: PUT ON MY CINDERELLA DRESS NOW! I DON’T WANT TO EAT BREAKFAST UNTIL I AM WEARING MY CINDERELLA DRESS!!!
Toni: Listen. I actually don’t have to help you put on your Cinderella dress at all. Nor do I have to make your breakfast.
Munch: Yes you DO have to do that!
Toni: No I don’t. I make the choice to do things that will make you happy. I make the choice cook you breakfast. I make the choice to look out for your needs. I don’t have to do any of those things.
Munch: YES YOU DO.
Toni: I really don’t. I do stuff for you because I love and care about you. I want you to be happy. But I don’t have to do any of it. I choose to.
That idea kind of blew her mind. She was quiet for a moment and thought about the reality of what I said. I don’t know if she can fully comprehend it, but at least a seed was planted.
Then later she was having a total freak out because she wanted chips and hummus and I didn’t have any. I offered her alternatives, but nothing was good enough. She finally acquiesced to chips and pesto, but then didn’t like the way I presented it. She had wanted me to put the pesto in a bowl, and not spread it on the chips. SO I was like “hey kid, it is all going to be the same once your chew it and its in your stomach!!!”
Toni: Munch, you can’t always have everything exactly they way you want it.
Munch: But I wanted the pesto in the bowl so I could dip it!
Toni: You didn’t tell me that, so I didn’t know that was what you wanted. I did the best I could, making you something I thought you would like.
Munch: But I want it in the bowl!!
Toni: It is not going to happen today. You can either have what I made you, or you can have nothing.
Then of course she yelled and screamed and cried… When she finally calmed down I tried to explain that her particularity about food comes off as really ungrateful for all the bounty in her life.
Toni: Munch, do you know that there are little children all over the world who go to bed hungry.
Munch: Well why don’t their mommies s give them food?
Toni: Because their mommies don’t have enough money to buy food.
Munch: Well we have money. We should buy them food.
Toni: Yes we should. That is a good idea. But is also important to acknowledge how lucky you are. You have food everyday. And it may not be exactly what you want all the time, but you are never hungry and there is always something for you.
Munch: You are really lucky too mom.
Toni: You are right, I am.