Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde

It's interesting how when Adelaide and I spend lots of time together, it brings out the extremes in both of us.

Most of the time, I love to be with Adelaide.  She's funny and smart and I'm always wondering what she's going to say.  We tend to laugh a lot and generally have a great time together.

When we're not having a great time, we don't just have kind-of-okay time or mediocre time; we have I'm-so-frustrated-with-you-that-you-just-need-to-get-away-from-me time.

Sometimes Adelaide just wakes up in a bad mood.  It's really not that often, but frequently enough to make me cringe at the thought of her teenage years.  And okay, maybe I do, too, but I'm generally better at hiding it.  She's not.  She'll burst into tears if we're out of orange juice, crying, "But I need my Vitamin C!"  She started sobbing the other day when I mistakenly placed her toast on her brother's plate, then told her to eat it anyway.  I think her exact words- between tearful heaves- were, "But then I'll get his germs and I just know they'll KILL ME!"

There's a very slight possibility that I'm not helping matters.  I try to stay calm and internalize any eye-rolling, but if she's having one of those days, I am done by lunchtime.  About that time of day, I start making jokes.  Because that's how I deal with things.  I make a joke out of it.

Take yesterday.  By 11 am I was really pushing liquids onto our daughter because I knew she had to be dehydrated from all the crying she'd been doing.  Finally, after she ran from the room bawling, "That's how it works with roosters!" (it's a long story), I composed a little song.  The title was, "I Have The Most Emotional Daughter In The World," and it was sung to the tune of "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon.  Two verses in, I was feeling much better.

Or yesterday at around 4:30 pm.  She was getting all worked up about something and dramatically said, "Don't you know that I have two eyes that see?" (another long story), and I lightly replied, "And here I thought you'd been using echolocation to get around all these years."

The problem is, she seems to take these jokes personally, saying I'm making fun of her.  I really don't know where she'd get that idea.

I'm not sure what else to do, though.  The only three other options that come to mind are 1) Get angry, 2) Soothe her, or 3) Ignore her.  I'm really not okay with 1, because I'm the adult here and need to be the one showing some self-control; I feel like option 2 would only increase the undesirable behavior, and I'm really not good at giving fake sympathy, and make no mistake: it would be fake; and option 3 just doesn't feel right.

So, any suggestions from the peanut gallery?  Because if this continues, the next 12 years or so are going to be very emotional.  But hilarious.


  1. This sounds like my daughter --in fact, she has used that very line "Don't you KNOW I have two eyes that SEE!"

    I think I handle it the same way you do, and for some strange reason, she seems to take it personally.

    Emma is 11. The dramatics increase in the evening, when a tiny bump can make for major hysterics depending on her mood. I remember the good old days, when I could say "Oh, no, will we have to cut the foot off?" and she'd laugh and be distracted. Eleven year-olds don't get distracted. Just furious :-)

  2. Dad teased us when we were kids and we turned out fine! AND now I have funny stories that either gets laughs or concerned looks. However, now I'm thinking that dad also had mom to rein him in when we were about to lose it. So as long as Derek is willing to fulfill that role, I think you're okay.

    1. Yes, but if she ever has a blemish on her face when she's a teenager, I solemnly swear never to say, "Hey, did you know you have this THING on your FACE?" and push on it.
      I'm not bitter. Just like Adelaide surely won't be.

  3. Chuckle--oh, girls are ever so much fun! ;) But to add a fifth option, I would recommend training her. Self-control doesn't just happen. Did you ever read the "Loving the Little Years" I reviewed some time ago?

    I absolutely love her comparing children's emotions to spirited horses which are great to have but must be controlled by the rider. "The goal is not to cripple the horse, but equip the rider. A well-controlled passionate personality is a powerful thing" (30).

    I can relate to your frustration as Briana was an emotional (read: burst into tears for no apparent reason) little girl too, but she has learned to control her emotions (for the most part--who of us does so perfectly?!) and is now a delightful teenager (not that I'm biased or anything, wink).

    PS Shayla has my copy of the book if you'd like to read it before she sends it back my way. It was so encouraging to me.

    1. Where were all these good parenting books when I was trying to raise my three girls? I think I consulted my friends, sister and my mom when I couldn't figure out what to do. Sure seems like there is a lot of helpful info out there.

    2. Poor Shayla is going to start feeling like my own personal lending library. I have no idea how many books I've borrowed from her; I should probably give the one I just read back before I ask for this one. But I also can't wait to read it- thanks for the suggestion!


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