J has always been spirited. I have read books since she was 2 years old about how to work with J’s high energy, independent nature. She’s tested our patience in almost every way imaginable (I say almost because I know nothing will compare to her teen years). I felt like over the summer we’d made some really good strides. I’d found ways to deal with her that didn’t frustrate either of us and we all worked really hard on rewarding the good so there was less to reprimand.
Recently there’s been a strong upsurge in negative behavior. I know a big part of this is the influence of other kids and another major authority figure in their lives. They’ve only been in school for three months and I know they are still adjusting to it all. But every night there’s a series of struggles right now that usually includes sassiness directed at H and I, and unkind words towards her brother. The other struggle we have with her is fibbing. Silly things, like saying she brushed her teeth, or denying she did something we know she did.
Having a strong-willed daughter in a house with two strong-willed parents can create a lot of frustration for everyone. I work really hard to take a breath most nights but I am also on my own 5 nights out of 7. Sometimes I lose the patience battle. Sometimes I yell.
J can warm my heart with her sweetness. When she is scared or nervous she knows she can hold her palm out and I’ll kiss it and she’ll hold it to her heart and she’ll kiss my hand for me to hold to my heart. On weekends she’ll snuggle up with me on the couch after she wakes up and she gives the best hugs. She is my carbon copy in so many ways, and my little kindred spirit.
I love this little girl with all my heart. And she can frustrate me like no other person I know some days. Some days it seems so difficult to know what to do to give her the tools she needs to make her way in the world.
Parenting is so hard sometimes. You question every step you make during the day, and I can easily beat myself up after bedtime until my own bedtime rolls around. But no matter how difficult it’s been, I always make sure she ends her day with a hug and a kiss from me. Some days I know it’s the only thing I do right.