Out of four children, only one of my offspring happens to be a girl. Thank God for miracles, because I know I would not be able to handle more than that. When I was pregnant with my youngest son, I jokingly told my husband that if the baby was a girl, I would have to bargain with someone at the hospital to trade her for a boy. My daughter has given me challenges that I never imagined I would have to overcome as a mother. The standard methods of parenting have proven ineffective with her, so I am at a loss. She has always been the most difficult of all the children, but lately she has been more behaviorally challenged than usual. I just about shaved my own head out of frustration the other day when she flung the cat up to the ceiling by its tail. Yes, poor little Moon Pie. My sweet, unsuspecting cat was lying on the floor minding his own business when Thing One snatched him up by the tail and tossed him into the air. Her reason? “I want him to have fun”, she told me. “I wish someone could throw me in the air like that, but I am too heavy now.”
Of course her behavior resulted in a time out. She is always sent to the same corner in the dining room and upon close inspection, I made a horrific discovery: her way of retaliating for being placed into time out is by wiping boogers on the wall. How did I not see this before mural of solidified nose drippings before? I could see where booger itself was pasted, trailed by what must have been snot. I almost cleaned the wall myself, until I remembered what I read in my many parenting books about helping a child understand the consequences of their actions. So I filled a bucket with soapy water, handed her a sponge, and told her to hop to it. There was no way I was eating another meal in that dining room with that nastiness on the wall.
Yelling at my daughter is futile. My rants go in one ear and out the other. She has this amazing gift of selective hearing, so my approach with her has to be different than it is with the boys. I asked her to sit down next to me when she was finished with her cleaning. Then I talked to her about the bad little girl who apparently snuck into my good little girl’s place. I told her that the bad version was not my favorite, and asked her if she could go find the good one because I missed her terribly. “I’ll try”, she promised. “But the good Yasmeen is very shy and doesn’t like to come out that much.”