So I get Alice up every day at 6am for school, literally pick her up out of bed because she wants to keep sleeping and then I think that if I just let her stay up late Friday night and then leave her be in the morning she’ll sleep until 10am on Saturday. No, no I am a foolish creature, it does NOT work that way. She’ll still wake up early, she’ll just turn from a regular cat into a hellcat by 2pm and will stay that way for THE REST OF THE DAY. The thing is I consistently hope for the luxury of sleeping in and she consistently and literally craps all over my dream. This morning Alice woke me up at 6:30 however. She technically slept in. So I guess my dream did finally come true.
The worst days as every mother knows are the headache days. The flu days. The days when you feel like shit and look like death and all you want to do is sleep for one more hour just one more please God. But there are no days off for a stay-at-home mom, even when your kid is in preschool it’s only for 3 hours which is enough time to merely recover your mind before your child takes it over again. I can recall one day when my daughter was 3 I had a horrid migraine and I was so done with everything, I just gave her the table. I gave her the glue, the markers, the play-dough, the construction paper, and then sat on the couch said “Have at it, the world is your oyster.” She started out making pictures, a little messy but nothing I couldn’t deal with later. I sat there and dozed off (don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile…) I woke up and she had colored all over the table, taken off all of her clothes, covered herself in tiger stripes and colored her tongue. “Whoa! Alice! What did you do?!”
My first thought was there she is, Hellcat. And then I took a picture. And sent it to my sister. Who texted “Put it in a blog!!!”
My daughter is a source of great entertainment. Right now she is hitting her head face first repeatedly into a pillow because she’s “so excited my friend’s coming over I just want to kill everybody” what?! My husband is sitting right in front of her, placidly searching contacts on his phone.
“Alice, calm down, you’re not a Korean dictator you’re a little girl.” She keeps hitting her head.
“Okay, you’re going to get a headache if you keep doing that.” (Later she does get a headache.) Obviously she stops eventually and moves on to refusing to change her shirt. She refuses to do a lot of things. Like wash her hair. Or brush her teeth unless she can wear her mittens. Or eat her toast unless I put chocolate on it (thank you Grandmommy.) She has her grandmother’s streak of stubbornness and it is truly a marvel. (You know it’s true Mom!) It manifests itself in all kinds of ways, lately she’s been debating me on every little thing. Earlier this morning was a perfect example. I’m drinking tea, and writing on my computer. Alice comes over wearing pink cat ears with bits of oatmeal on her shirt. She puts the ears on my head, (which I will forget about and later grandma will see me working and say “I love your ears.”) she then notices my tea.
“Is that milk?” Enquiry opened.
“No, it’s tea.” First response.
“Well it looks like milk.” Obvious distrust, rebuttal to first response, argument begun.
“It’s tea with milk in it.” Easy explanation, expectation of argument won.
“It smells like tea and butter.” Observation, another rebuttal.
“There’s no butter in it.” Denial of strangeness, patience beginning to wane.
“It smells like there’s butter in it.” Suspicion.
“There’s not butter in the tea.” Emphatic denial, humorousness of conversation noticed.
“I’m just telling you the truth, there’s butter in that tea.” Conclusion reached, enquiry completed. Not sure what happened.
She’s like a tiny Perry Mason confident in her assessments of the world at large. Many days I wish I had her spirited confidence and I remind myself not to do anything to crush it. So often as parents we want to mould and transform our children into our idea of who they should be, forgetting to enjoy who they are. Because really this is not my first rodeo, I’ve been hazed by Alice’s two older brothers. They taught me that regardless of what the rest of the world has to say about it they are themselves and no amount of pushing them to assimilate and minimize their true natures is going to work. If you want a successful child, let them be who they are and do what they love. It’s so much easier because in the long run they’ll likely end up there anyways and you want to be a part of their lives. Nothing breaks the heart more than when a child grows up and rejects their parents. For all the little Hellcats out there, we love your spirit, take us with you when you reach the stars.
Pink and Black and Blue
The black and blue of girlhood
The lies and broken places
The ferocious hugs- don’t let me go
The hilarity of being assigned pink-
A weak, simpering color.
As my daughter stands screaming,
Both hands in fists, naked…
I think not pink, definitely not pink.
I had a thought to mould her into some kind of idyllic princess.
It’s laughable as she covers herself in crayola tiger stripes and roars at me from the dining room table.
As if to say “just try and tame this wild thing”
No my love. I wouldn’t change a thing. You are at your most beautiful.
Ah, the irony of a black and blue girlhood surrounded by pink and purple toys.