Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Taming of the Shrew...

Well nothing says Christmas like a need to lock down the behavior of your erstwhile wellish behaved eldest child.  She has been showing more and more signs of spoiled rotten brat syndrome and something had to be done.  I hate as a feminist to invoke the title of a most misogynistic play by Shakespeare, with the title shrew being finally tamed by her husband in the end, but it just fits.  (I know her sister plays foil to her by NOT being subservient to her husband in the end it is still  a parody of the attitudinal climate towards women of that time and is ahead of it's day..blah, blah blah...don't worry...)

Mackenzie is now 6 and displays the typical kid tendency to be great unless she is home with me.  I get the eye rolls, the "Mo-ommm" the constant demands for servitude, this is pretty par for the course.  Lately however she has reached a new pinnacle of rude behavior with me.  She has started to want to show off for her friends..."look, I shall make my mother jump nay high...."  or showing up in front of me suddenly at Gymnastics practise saying, "Mom, DRINK!"  Like some kind of pre-adolescent football player cro-magnon in a cute blonde 6 year-old girl package.

I do not respond to these attempts at tyranny. I'm usually pretty good at ignoring this kind of behavior (or disassociating... as the case may be)  I usually respond with a whispered hiss..."So then you want me to start yelling at you in front of your friends then, is that where we're going with this??"  I can keep up a remarkable outward appearance of calm while quietly battling back with weapons of my own, mostly the threat of social embarrassment.  Then I get the subsequent eye roll and obligatory "Pahleeze......." (subtext, I soooo DO NOT  mean this...)  Fine, I will weather this pissy missy storm with you....riding the waves of your moodiness until someday you realize everything I've ever done and said has been RIGHT...probably when you have kids of your own who are making you turn yourself inside out wondering where, WHERE in your genetic code they have managed to unlock SUCH behavior.

I had reached the end however when she tried to hand me her water bottle in the parking lot after gymnastics, with a derisive, "Here..." bored sounding, looking away, like, "I can't even be bothered making eye contact with you as I'm giving you a command, peon.....

I of course, graciously decline the proffered item, indicating that she is more than capable of carrying it to the car, parked not more than 6 feet away.

"HERE!...she persists, refusing to acknowledge my previous indication that I was not willing to play her pack mule that day.

"You can carry it yourself," I say.

"Fine" she shoots back, "I'll just drop it on the ground..."

Then reality as I knew it imploded.  All I could hear was a giant buzzing noise, (which was probably all of the screaming in my head coalescing into a face twitching, ear bleeding crescendo..) and the temperature of the earth suddenly rocketed upwards, with the speed of a pre-tween eye roll.

I somehow got home, driving in a dissociative state, and when I walked through the door, Chris knew something was wrong, it might have been the speaking in tongues, I'm not really sure.....

After some messy tear stained yelling about gratitude, I decided that it was my fault, that how could someone possible possess gratitude when they have everything they need or want served up on a silver platter?

After 4 1/2 hours in her room she finally came down and tried to help herself to a platter of Christmas brownies on the counter.

"Step away from the brownies...." I spit out through clenched teeth.  I level my best John Wayne gaze at her, "lemme tell ya how it's gonna work for the next week in these parts, pilgrim"

Then I go on to explain the list of chores that she will be required to to everyday... (gasp, one...)
And the week long embargo on sweets...not even in her lunch.  Her snacks will consist of fruit, yogurt or cheese ....I know, cruel and unusual but it has to be done.

And the best... Mother is on strike, that's right, talk to my union.  They say I don't actually have to do anything for you unless it involved keeping you alive, so for the next week don't ask me to get you a cookie/download you some music/reach you a cup/.  If it ain't provided in a Japanese POW camp, you ain't gettin' it from me, got it?  Oh, except hugs, I'll still give you those, cause I love you which is why I'm doing this...

Her suitably contrite response to this was, "I'm DEFINITELY not asking for any of those!" then she stomped up the stairs, and SA-LAMMED the door to her bedroom.

Oh, I thought, I AM going to break your spirit, child.    Ah, they could have made a Christmas special out of it all, it was beautiful.

Anyway, she served her week, which was actually last week.  She got off her grounding last weekend, displaying much better behavior.  She's smart enough to know that she deserved it.

Oh, boy, I can't wait until she's 16!

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