I remember fondly when my daughter was sweet and kind, polite and generous. I remember how proud I was and how I looked down on other peoples children when they misbehaved, threw tantrums, or were less than pleasant to others. I thought I was the best mother of all.
Then, my daughter hit three and a half, or so. Gone, at least in public, is the sweet polite little princess I sometimes still see when we are alone. She has been replaced by a center-of-attention, selfish, ignorant mini-teen. She rolls her eyes, talks back, lies, ignores, sticks out her tongue, and whines (ALOT). She's ungrateful when people buy her things, she is sneaky when she wants something she can't have, and she never thinks about other peoples feelings.
Where did I go wrong?
When we are home alone, snuggling on the couch, watching a movie and eating popcorn, and she is telling me how much she loves me, I wish I could hide a camera and show the world that there really is a sweet little girl in there. She speaks clearly, is intelligent and inquisitive, and is sweet and kind.
And then someone comes over, or we go to someones house. People will say hello to her and ask her a question, and one of two things will happen - she will either dance around and make noises instead of speaking, or grunt and hide in my side. I nudge her and try to get her to be social, but I rarely can get her to snap out of it, and usually have to cringe and shrug. When it's time to go, she will refuse to give hugs and kisses, or throw a tantrum that we are leaving.
In the car, I try to tell her about her behavior, and I get "Mommy, you are mean to me", or "Mommy, I will do better next time", or "Mommy, I don't like when you are mad with me". I put her in time out, I put her to bed early, I have even taken away the 1/2 hour of TV she watches before bed, and her story and song, but nothing changes my little monster back into my little princess. Is this the way it is from now on? Will I not get her back until she is 23 and ready to stop hating me and be my friend again? Is this how my mother felt; did it really happen for almost 20 years? I thought I would have more time before the "pre-teen" came out in her.
I adore my mom and the relationship that we have, but I have to say I was into my twenty's before we became as close as we are, although she was always, always there for me when I needed her. I hope Hailey and I will share a similar bond, but I am disappointed at the thought that I have to wait so long to get there.