Image Credit <here>
Last night, DD2 was all giggles at DD1’s girl scout troop meeting, sitting on my lap, snuggling and pretending to be asleep, then giggling some more when I discovered that she was really awake. Then all of a sudden, she said, “mommy, can I tell you a secret?” and so I leaned in, and she whispered in my ear, “when daddy gets mad at me, he says you f**k!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I said what? And she leaned in and said it again—“when daddy gets mad at me, he says you f**k!” And honestly, because she was whispering, I couldn’t be sure I was making it out, so I said, can you tell me that again? And she leaned into my ear, put her hands around her mouth and said it again. I finally understood that she’d turned that wonderful FY phrase backwards.
I gave her a big hug, and said, you know what, ladybug, those are terrible words to use. She gave me a hug back, and then bounced off to go running around the hallway. Ugh. Ex is at it again. Time to consult with the play therapist, if I could have handled that better, and how to handle it again should it come up.
As for the second part of this post--this morning went much better than the other morning, thank goodness, the girls were up dressed and ready, nary a whine or a fuss, and we were all downstairs, getting ready to leave for the school drop offs. DD1 noticed that DD2 was copying her picture, and because DD1’s voice is still hoarse, she whispered, I really HATE it when DD2 copies me. And I looked DD1 straight in the eye and I said, I know honey, it’s really hard being a big sister. One day it will get easier, and one day you’ll see that DD2 is showing you she loves you, but right now, it’s just so very hard to be a big sister. DD1, instead of some smart retort or hmpphing, just nodded her head and leaned against me.
Then, DD2 piped up, It’s really hard being a little sister, too! And I said, you know, you’re right, it’s hard to be a little sister and a big sister. DD1 didn’t like the sound of that, but she didn’t debate it.
However, in the car on the way to DD2’s school, DD1 kept snapping at DD2 to stop chewing with her mouth open, that it was DISGUSTING. Well, as loud as she could, except she had to whisper because of her voice (I’d laugh, but then it would be rude. Okay I’m laughing now). And I reminded DD1 that it wasn’t her job to tell DD2 what to do, that’s mom’s job. Unfortunately DD1 couldn’t stop commenting on DD2’s chewing and I stepped in another time, saying, DD1, it’s not nice to use the word disgusting when it comes to your sister. And to DD2’s credit, she was trying to chew with her mouth closed. So then DD1 decided to mimic her sister chewing, even though she wasn’t eating anything. (Okay, I’m laughing again!).
So finally I said to DD1, do I need to deduct $1.00 from your allowance because you’re having a hard time remembering it’s not your job to tell DD2 what to do?
A hoarse: NO! from the back seat.
Ok, good, I replied. And all was was quiet as we pulled into the DD2 drop off, I walked DD2 into school, and got back in the car.
So on the way to DD1’s school, I decided to revisit puberty land with DD1, since she seemed calm, wasn’t fuming, or having a hissy fit.
DD1: yes? (I noticed it’s the normal tone, not mean puberty land tone).
Me: So remember how we know that girls’ bodies change, just like they say in the Care and Keeping of You?
Me: Well, part of what happens when your body changes, is that your brain changes a little bit too. It’s called hormones.
Me: Well, you’ll learn about hormones in science, but what happens is, when your body’s changing, your moods change, too. It’s puberty Like sometimes you get super frustrated and angry at DD2, or me, or dad or anyone.
DD1: Does this mean that the blood comes, too? (we’ve talked about periods already…a few times)
Me: Well…puberty kind of happens on a spectrum. Do you know what spectrum means?
Me: So you know how a rainbow has Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple?
DD1: Uh huh…
Me: Well, that’s a spectrum, a rainbow goes from Red to Purple. And puberty kind of happens on a spectrum too. It doesn’t always happen all at once, and sometimes some parts happen at the same time as others.
DD1: Okay, good (still using normal tone, I might add, so think she’s really listening).
Me: Well, part of puberty is, these hormones affect you, and affect your moods, and sometimes you might get so upset, you feel like your brain is going to explode. (From my rearview mirror, I can see DD1 is looking intently at me) And it’s okay to feel upset and angry and frustrated.
Me: And gosh, especially when you’re really upset like that—that’s a good time to practice being gentle with you. You be gentle with you, and do your best to be gentle with others. So when you really feel like your head’s going to explode because you’re so angry, maybe say something like: I’m REALLLY UPSET! Instead of calling someone a bad name or doing or saying mean things.
DD1: (a pause) I KNOW mom, you’ve told me that a hundred million times.
Me: (Really? Hadn’t realized that and I do start laughing) Okay, well I’m glad you know what to do.
There’s a nice silence, at least I can tell she’s not glaring at me.
Me: So honey, you know when mommy tries to give you a hug when you’re really upset, and you get mad?
Me: What would you rather have me do, to help you feel better?
DD1: (After thinking a little bit) I wish you’d tell me you were sorry.
Me: You mean for hurting your feelings?
Me: Honey, Mommy is really sorry for hurting your feelings.
Quiet for the rest of the drive to school. When I walked her into school, she leaned in for a kiss, in front of everyone in the cafeteria no less, so I guess my little girl still has one foot in little girl land, as her brain and body reach a tentative foot ahead.
p.s. I noticed DD1 put on her training bra today.