When You Can’t Stand Your Own Child

I can’t stand Phoebie today. 

There, I said it.

No, it isn’t that I don’t love her. And no, it isn’t that I don’t care about her. But I simply had enough of her today.

The day started great, I must say. Phoebie listened to instructions and was helpful at home as I prepared her and Breyen for an outing. My plan was to feed Breyen lunch at home and head out, letting him sleep in the stroller while I spent time with Phoebie. We would go shopping for a short while, have lunch together and then meet some friends after that.

In fact, I really enjoyed my time with Phoebie before we went to meet our friends. She was polite to strangers when they helped us and was mindful of asking me for permission whenever she wanted something. She even made the cashier at Mosburger smile when she asked politely albeit loudly for a plastic bag when we couldn’t finish our food.

She was nice to her friends when we first met up and had a good time playing.

Until…

She didn’t get her way.

Phoebie and her friends made a new friend at the playground and the little girl whipped out some things from her bag to share. Alas, the game wasn’t played in the way Phoebie wanted and she started to have a meltdown. 

I tried talking to her nicely at first but her meltdown got from bad to worse. Her friends tried to be nice but Phoebie was too caught up in her tantrum.

Eyes turned and looked our way as she screamed at the top of her lungs. My friends carried Breyen for me as I dealt with this screaming girl who was so pleasant just one hour before. She kept screaming and I knew I couldn’t reason with her. I made her stand at a side and told her to face the wall for five minutes. 

Phoebie continued to scream. “I want Mama…. I want Mama…”

“Five minutes at the wall. When you calm down, you can come to me,” I told her, refusing to give in. 

She whined and cries more than half the time during that five minutes and when she finally calmed down, I asked her if she thought she was being kind by screaming just because the new friend she made didn’t want to share something with her. I reminded her that there are things that she doesn’t like to share sometimes too. 

She then whined and said that no one wanted to play with her. I asked her if she would want to play with someone who was screaming loudly and throwing tantrums. She shook her head. I asked her what she thought she needed to do, and she said she needed to apologize. 

So off she went to apologize and finally calmed down enough to join her friends again. 

While playing, she had mini whining sessions here and there which by then, I felt too exhausted to deal with.

When it was time to go, I asked her what her next job was. She remembered what I had instructed before we left home and said, “Sleep in the stroller.” She must have been worn out by her meltdown because she fell asleep before we even reached the train platform even when the train station was at the basement of the building we were in.

I thought she was done with her meltdown for the day but I was so wrong.

We went to my mum’s place for dinner and while she followed instructions during dinner, she started throwing tantrums again shortly after. 

There are some toys at my mum’s place that come in pairs (because my mum wanted each of my kids to have one) and Phoebie decided to hog two of a kind each time. When asked to share, she threw both and said she was not happy and didn’t want to play anymore. 

I tried to hold back on the reprimanding and asked her if she remembered what happened earlier in the day when the new friend she made didn’t want to share. I asked her how she felt and she kept quiet. 

As the kids played on, my mum reminded Phoebie to be kind and to share. Phoebie raised her voice and said she was not happy again.

When I heard my mum say that Phoebie had done something that caused Breyen to fall, that was the last straw. I told Phoebie to bring her chair to the thinking corner. She started screaming again and refused to budge. I told her it was either she went there herself or I would be the one bringing her there. 

Tearfully, she took her chair and sat at the thinking corner, whining and crying at the same time. I raised my voice and reminded her that the thinking corner is for thinking and not for screaming and crying. Again, it took her more than half of the designated five minutes to calm down. 

By now, I was exhausted. Why was this kid being so unlovable? Why couldn’t she remember what happened earlier in the day and what happened the night before when she was sent to that same corner?

Agitated as I was, I knew I had to “finish” the punishment the right way. When the five minutes in the thinking corner was up, I told Phoebie to bring her chair into the room. I closed the door and talked to her, asking her what she thought of her behaviour and why she behaved that way.

The “debrief” ended the same way every session would – an apology from her, a hug, a kiss and a “I love you” from me. 

Even saying “I love you” was hard because I was so annoyed with her. I had had enough of her for today. Seriously. I didn’t even want to bath her. 

When Ben came home from work, I asked him to take over. I didn’t want to share a breathing space with Phoebie. Not for the rest of the night.

I don’t love Phoebie any less but just for today, I’ve had enough and I really need to walk away before I blast at her again. 

May tomorrow be better than today.

*deep breath*

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