I started writing a blog in 2015. I only wrote a few things before I just forgot all about it and it seemed like it was lost in deep interwebs space. Today when I logged into wordpress, it magically reappeared. So weird.
Here are two essays I’d written when parenting Nicky was at it’s most difficult, back when she was 8 years old. She is 11 now and I feel like I’m a wiser and more understanding parent than I was three years ago.
# 1 FAIL
PUBLISHED ON September 2, 2015
This morning I woke up singing, “keep fighting the good fight!” then I sat in my prayer chair and I prayed for my family and friends, my church and my life. I prayed especially for my daughter, Nicky, that God would help her to enjoy school and help her improve her behaviour.
I left my room feeling serene and in control. The kids were all watching tv in the lounge, all cosy under blankets and I kissed Leigh as he left for work. I resolved to have a peaceful morning so I told the kids to stay where they were and I’d call them for breakfast when it was ready. I put on a load of washing, ironed uniforms, set out socks and shoes, made lunches and put them in bags, put porridge on the stove and toast in the toaster. Georgia got up from the couch and made 4 cups of tea entirely on her own. We switched off the tv and ate breakfast. George finished, brushed her teeth and got dressed.
Normally I shower before I come out of my room but the prayer time was really good so I skipped the shower.
Nic stayed under the blanket and ate her toast. It was getting closer to the time to leave and she hadn’t got dressed so I went over to tell her she needed to hurry up. I’m a yeller, and I’m trying not to yell (I’d prayed that morning that God would help me stop. I never yelled before I had 5+-year-olds…) I just spoke calmly and said hurry up. She said she didn’t want to go. I said that wasn’t an option. She said she was tired and just wanted to stay home. I said no.
I stayed calm. I didn’t yell. I just said, “you will be going to school, you might be very late (which she hates) or you might be in your PJs. But you will be there.” She got dressed.
We got in the car. The little two and I were going to school in our PJs for the first time in our lives. But I was happy that I hadn’t raised my voice all morning and there had been no fights between the kids. We pulled up and George jumped out and ran off. Nicola wouldn’t get out. She started to cry. She said, “I just want to stay home with you.” I told her no. She cried harder. I didn’t want to let her out until she had calmed down. We prayed that she would know God was with her all day and asked for the strength to go to school. We called dad. He is good at pep talks. It didn’t help. She started to howl. I told her to calm down because it was really time to get out of the car. She screamed into my face, “I’m not going” and jumped back into the back and did her seatbelt up.
I was fairly powerless. I didn’t even have a bra on.
I started the car and began to pull out of the carpark. I said, “I think this is the naughtiest thing you’ve done in a while. We are going home. I am going to get dressed. Then I am going to give you a big smack and bring you straight back to school. You will be quite late.”
We waited in line at the end of the car park as the traffic was waiting for passing cars. She grabbed her bag, jumped out of the car and screamed, “you’re the worst mother ever and I hate you.” Then stormed off in the direction of the school.
I was worried. She’s only 8 years old. No 8 year old should be starting their day that way; alone and angry and crying. I came home and called the school but by the time the receptionist put me through to the classroom, I was crying too. I told the teacher aide what had happened (me: “I’ve never come to school in my PJs before!”) I asked her to check on Nicky and said she might need someone to talk to. (Me: “she’s actually a great kid” teacher: “I’m sure she is, all kids have off days.”) She said she would call me back and now I’m waiting for her call.
I called Leigh. He told me I’d done nothing wrong and she was just trying to manipulate me because I’d been so kind and gentle and she wanted to milk that for all it was worth.
I cried some more.
I’m telling myself, keep fighting the good fight!
# 2 Socially Awkward.
PUBLISHED ON September 2, 2015
The teacher from the morning never called back. But the classroom teacher called at 2pm to say Nicky wants to come home and she has a sore eye. I told her she’ll have to wait the final hour because one of the kids was asleep. I asked the teacher if she knew I’d called that morning and she said, in quite an offhand way:
Teacher: Oh yeh, Nicky doesn’t really have any friends. She hangs out in the science room at lunchtime. That’s where the kids who don’t have friends go. We could try to work with her on developing some social skills.
I said: Actually, Nicky does have a lot of friends. She’s a really like-able kid. She just struggles to know how to ask if she can join in and she doesn’t initiate activities very well.
Teacher: Oh yeh, I didn’t mean the kids don’t like her.
Me: Well, I’m sorry but I can’t pick her up. There’s only an hour to go. She’ll be okay.
And I hung up.
And cried again.
I don’t blame the teacher. She is only there once a week on a Wednesday and I think she is a young graduate. If she had her own children she would know that telling a mum that her kid hangs out in the science room on her own was probably not something you say over the phone as a by-the-way.
But at least I know how to help her now. This is how I was all through school. I liked everyone and everyone liked me and I had plenty of friends but I always felt lost with no one to talk to. It didn’t change until Uni Orientation where I met my best friend, Ewelina.
I emailed my lecturer to tell him I’ll be very late to class tonight.
Being a mum is hard… have I mentioned that before?