Thursday, 7 July 2011

Raising a hellraiser

I know, I know. I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to blogging. I have no excuses, really, apart from the fact that any big(gish) change in my life always disturbs my fragile sense of equilibrium and it takes a long time for me to get back to where I was.

Anyway, I'm back and boy, have I got a lot of things to blog about. Unfortunately, I've had such a bad morning that I feel I need to release some of my stress by writing all about it here. What's that you  said? It's only 11 a.m.? Really? Well then, there's hope for this day yet, right?

Let me start by saying that I love my dear darling daughter very much. She's a very smart, funny and sweet little girl. However, she can also be bossy, stubborn, and hurtful. When she goes into a strop, it's very hard to coax her out of it. And this is the thing that really gets me down.

This morning started out fine but ended badly with her having a screaming fit just as she was going into her preschool. I nearly gave up and was about to take her home, but one of the childminders I know came over  and advised me not to give in. 'Look at her, she's thinking she's won already,' the woman told me. 'Just pick her up and take her into school. You have to show her you're in charge.'

Another childminder said, 'If she knows she can get away with this when she's only four, imagine what she'll be like by the time she's a teenager.'

I stood in front of these wise women, my eyes welling up and feeling really embarrassed. Of course I knew all these things that they were telling me. I had seen enough Supernanny  episodes to know exactly what to do. And yet, I couldn't do it. All I wanted to do the moment my daughter started screaming was to get her home and leave her to calm down on her own. Forcing her to go to school felt too cruel. But the two women's words got to me. They were right. Surely there wasn't any shame in insisting that Sofia did what she was supposed to do.

So I marched over to where she was and picked her up. The screaming got louder but I carried on. It was only when I halted when I saw one of my friends that I realised that I had been crying. My friend offered to help but I said, 'No, I need to do this on my own.'

I dragged her into preschool, still screaming. She held on to me and refused to let go. One of the teachers took her from me and she eventually stopped crying. I was still in tears when I left the school.

I'm still feeling emotional right now. The sad thing is, this isn't the first time Sofia has made me cry. She has had a few meltdowns before that had left me in tears. There are always some warning signs, and I always try to defuse the situation. Sometimes, my tactics work and she calms down. At other times, she ends up a screaming, crying mess and so do I. The problem is, I can never tell how things will turn out each time.

I've never had any problems like this with Lucas. He has always been easy to talk to. From a young age, he has always been mindful of the consequences of his actions. Sofia, on the other hand, does not care about consequences. She'd carry on doing something despite being told several times that she'd get into trouble for doing it.

My biggest fear is that if I don't try and rein her in now, she'll grow up into a troublemaker. My mother would probably laugh at this, as she has told me several times that I was a very headstrong child too, just like Sofia is now. 'She'll turn out just fine, I'm sure,' Nanay told me once. I hope so. But I don't want to take any chances. When that girl comes home from preschool today, she and I will sit down together and re-establish our rules for good behaviour and come up with a new reward system.

Wish me luck, folks. I'll need it.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

My First Silent Sunday Post

A day spent in Hunstanton, Norfolk