My daughter’s friends are starting to turn four years old and all of a sudden we’re going to a lot of birthday parties. I absolutely love these. I love seeing my daughter play with her friends. I love chatting with the other parents. I love seeing all the fun places people have their parties. I love the bounce houses, which ensure good afternoon naps. I love the art parties, which provide me with something for my daughter to give my husband for his birthday. I love the nature parties, which give my daughter an opportunity to see some fun animals. I love the fall parties, with hayrides, apple picking and cider making. There are just so many fun ideas out there for birthday parties and I can’t wait to figure out what we’ll do in the future for our daughters.
However, if I keep up my current behavior I will never get to attend any of my older daughter’s parties. She tells me at least twice a day that she’s NEVER INVITING ME TO HER BIRTHDAY PARTY. This seems to be the thing you say when you’re mad at someone when you’re four. I’m glad I have a thick skin and don’t take it personally. I just say – Oh, bummer, who will make you that blueberry cake you’ve been asking for? And that doesn’t phase her one little bit. GRANDMA! she says.
But seriously, she’s had some choice words for me lately and has been getting a little more physical. I was kneeling in front of her talking to her about why she was in time out and she kicked me right in the chest. And then she hit me over the head with a rain stick when I wasn’t even looking in her direction because I took her into the bathroom to brush her teeth. She has even spit in my face twice in the last few weeks. Both times it caught me totally off guard and I could not believe it. I spoke with her teacher about it because I was terrified she might do it to her too! Her teacher really put it into perspective. She said that when little kids do stuff like that, they really have no idea how disrespectful it is. They’re just trying something out. I thought about this and remembered the first time I ever stuck my middle finger up at someone. I had seen a friend’s older brother do it but had no idea what it meant. I decided to do it to that same friend’s mom. And she was pissed. Oops.
I try to remind myself that having a strong-willed daughter isn’t a bad thing. I want her to stand up for herself and not to be a pushover. The most important thing is to continue to teach her kindness. I want her to be kind to her sister and I want her to be kind to her friends. I just want her to be nice. I see it in her a lot. She’s not always pushing her sister or uninviting me to her birthday party. She’s often telling me how much she loves me and our family. She’s often being physically affectionate with us and her sister or our dog. She’s a good kid with a stubborn streak. I can’t blame her – she gets it from me! I can blame myself and my lack of consistency. When I really buckle down and enforce the rules, I do see her responding better. Man this parenthood thing is tough!