Tuesday, October 18, 2011

my little 5 year old teenager

Eyerolling isn't just for teens! My darling almost five year old has perfected the art of the eye roll, the annoyed face, and the "you" insult, where I say "I think you should think about what you're saying" and then she says, "I think YOU should think about what YOU'RE saying." And then I stop myself from saying OHHELLNO.

I don't want to get too into the details of the exasperating crap because I think you know where this is going (if you don't, think Hall Monitor crossed with Very Sensitive Know It All). And hey, I'm also reminding myself that she's only (almost) five.

But I never let P say these things without telling her it's wrong. Mostly because I want her to see that it's ok to stand up for yourself, and I hope she does it for herself one day.

And to her enormous credit, when I call her out on it, sometimes she ignores me but sometimes she takes it very much to heart. Sometimes too much, like when I told her I thought her behavior was totally unacceptable and she cried and said, "Don't call the police!" !? I reassured her that they weren't part of the parenting thing.

Happily, other parents tell me this is not unfamiliar to them either. I'm sorry I am not alone in this boat, but glad too because this makes it more likely that it's a phase and less likely that I'm somehow raising an insufferable little human who will grow to be an insufferable adult. Which is my #1 parental fear, to fail at raising two people who will help their communities and world be a little kinder and better and instead have burdened the world with a couple more Bernie Madoffs.

That's over the top, ok. But that is why I should never have read something like "We Need to Talk About Kevin" during your pregnancy. It was part of my book club and during the whole thing, I kept fretting, "But she [the mom] did things mostly right. And LOOK WHAT HAPPENED!!!" Pregnancy and books about kids going on insane rampages = terrible mix.

During my second pregnancy, I think the heaviest my reading got was, I don't know, McSweeney's?

Anyway. I have an almost three year old and almost five year old, and I can see clearly that we are exiting the land of sheer physical exhaustion and the mental discipline that is required just to keep up with the day. And now entering the new land of greater physical independence. Which may be or may very well not be accompanied by emotional independence of sorts. There's definitely independent thinking, imagination and ideas flowing, which is delightful except when it's cheeky and I have to remember "good-with-bad."

I'm reminded me of the first lesson of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum, which for me was-- this relationship is always changing.