In the kitchen

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Thursday, April 15, 2010



Ella and I had a battle of the wills tonight at supper. I was tired and overstimulated from 3 days on with the girls (picture it: me getting ultrasound at PT with Maya straddling my abdomen and jumping up and coming down hard, forcing all the air from my lungs and Ella trying to snuggle into my neck while I try to relax my jittery muscle) and I didn't have a lot of reserve to remember one simple thing (the thing my friend Emilie had to remind me of tonight):

Don't try to argue with a five-year-old.

When I am going to remember that me entering into a full on duel of reason, justice and respect with my child can only end badly?

Better question: when I am going to realize that dueling of any kind almost always ends badly for me?

Ella made two grave errors to get on my bad side tonight. First, after I had served she and Maya the start of their meal and was trying to get some salad made for myself and Ella, she asked, huffily, "Where is my salad?"

I commence to talk to her about getting outside herself enough to realize what is going on, that I haven't even sat down yet and that am in fact, MAKING THE SALAD!

Error #2: complain about the peanuts I put in her snack today. While she is complaining about the speed with which I am feeding her supper.

I launched into some tirade/monologue about previously stated themes of respect, justice and some more about respect. Oh, and about watching the tone of one's voice. I said this through clenched teeth and fists. I imagine it was highly effective.

We hugged it out before supper and both calmed down and managed to eat. There was another episode which ended in significant crying for her and the urgent need to get her to sleep as a cure for her grouchy overtiredness. As I was brushing her teeth, easily because her mouth was open to let the sobs out, she said, "Can we snuggle??"

Can you pause with me to feel what that feels like. My little girl, angry and hurt with me, wants nothing more than to turn to me, ME, mother who should retire for the evening-better luck tomorrow, for comfort.

We went upstairs and I held her while she cried- cried about the loss of her fish, the fact that her beloved cat had been the one to kill her special fish and the complications of love and loyalty therein, cried about her puppy being taken by "the boys" at school yesterday and ending up the coveted object in a mean game of keep away. She cried like her heart was breaking because this is what Ella does. She holds things to her, so deep and tight and then they come oozing out as cranky complaining, impatience, feverish anger and the inability to see outside herself for even a second.

This all sounds frighteningly like your's truly.

Tears dried, heart poured out, she lay still in my arms, like the quiet after a storm, and I thought about the complexities of love and especially of family. These are my four people. These are the people who know me when my breath smells bad, I am in a poisonous mood, I yell at bad drivers, I complain about paying an extra dollar for something, I eat too much chocolate, I whine about the laundry, I can't sit still during meals, or I say something with my quick tongue that breaks one of their hearts, even if just a little bit. These are the people that I can fight with and be disgusted by because I get too caught up in righteousness or justice or equality and still find my way back to at night to curl around and be loved by.

And, blessedly, they take me every time.

1 comment:

Jeannine said...

beautifully stated my friend... unconditional love abounds!

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