Sunday, January 15, 2012

Learning to Play Your Cards

We all have cards that we play. I have the wife card and the momma card, both of which can be powerful (DO WHAT I SAY!) or manipulative (please, will you do your poor, overworked, tired wife/momma a favor), demanding (we need to get this done) or subtle (I think I might really like it if we did x, y, or z).

Z has cards as well. Due to her being the only child (so far), we may have allowed her to use the baby card for too long. She also has the only child card, the cute card, the screaming banshee card, the good girl card, the super smart card, and the bad girl card. There are times that she will also steal the guilt card and wield it with a mighty fist. Thank goodness that she has not learned to play that card as well as the Hubs.

As you can tell, the cards are stacked against me and the Hubs. (The Hubs has cards too and at any given moment can strike me a near fatal death blow with a GUILT card, I think my father may have willed that card to him. It's devastating.)

On Christmas morning, Z was playing with her new toys, I was attempting to read a book and the Hubs had gone out to run some kind of errand. In an attempt to not overwhelm our house with STUFF, I had only taken two of her gifts out of the manufacturer's maze of twist ties, plastic, cellophane, and clear rubber bands. The rest of the boxes were stacked neatly under the tree waiting for her to tire of, and put away, the other toys that she was playing with.

"Momma, can I play with Strawberry Shortcake (and her infitesimally small pieces of food and serving utensils), now?"

"Put away your other toys and I will open Strawberry." I didn't feel that this was necessarily a bad statement, just a statement that I had been making for what felt like the whole month of December. It set her off and the cards came flying.

BAM - Good Girl - "But momma, I really want to play with her..."

I shake my head and  turn back to my book. I have learned not to feed into this...

BAM - Cute - "Mommmmmmmyyyyy, it would make my Christmas so gre-e-e-e-a-t....

I smile to myself and continue to read.

BAM - Screaming Banshee - "MOMMMMMY!!!!!! GIVE ME MY TOYS NOOOOOOOW!"

"You can go to your room. Thank you for playing. Take your toys with you." I look back to my book as the crying and screaming continues down the hall.

Seconds tick by, she is standing in the living room now. By the Christmas tree. Sniffling, she reaches under the tree as I repeat that she needs to go to her room.

WHAM! Her face is still, shocked. The crying has stopped. And in those seconds the silence is deafening. She has picked up a Christmas toy, still in it's box. She has thrown it at me. And it has hit me in the head. I rise to my feet as she shrinks to the floor. I feel like a 10 foot tall giant now, looming over her.

Get it together, momma. Don't flip out.  It's Christmas. 

I pick up EVERY toy. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I carry them into the office (a room that she is not allowed in). I put them on the top shelf of the closet and I slam the door. She is following behind me, crying (loudly) as I operate in silence. I unplug the Christmas tree. I take all of the ornaments off. I put Christmas away.

She goes to her room now, sobbing. I go to the porch.

The tears start to drip down my chin as I dial the Hubs.

Maybe we all lost that round.

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