Living with a Teenaged Seven Year Old
You know, things used to be simpler. All us old folks say so. I remember being a kid, and it wasn’t that complicated. I didn’t know much about the world around me. I remember vaguely being terrified by the oil shortage in the early seventies. I didn’t know much music. We didn’t have a TV. And I certainly don’t EVER remember being a drama queen like my seven year old is. It’s something they absorb through their Happy Meals or something (we didn’t have those either).
My daughter creates the most incredible drama everywhere she goes. She is a sweet, bright kid, but Lordy, the least little thing will get her going. The other day, for the first time, she told me I was ruining her life. She put her head in her arms and her little shoulders shook with sobs. My infraction? I told her she couldn’t take her Nintendo DS on a field trip where they were going SWIMMING. First of all, a Nintendo DS is a rather expensive piece of equipment, for a child. My husband has already categorically forbidden her to bring it to school or summer camp ever. Which begs the question: why did she ask my permission to do something she has already been told she will never do? She knows she gets in trouble asking the other parent in hopes of getting a different answer. Second of all, really? Swimming? And electronics? And how on earth does that constitute a life ruining event. Really, analysis is not helpful. The situation defies logic.
She broke down in the car the other day because I refused to change the song we were listening to. “But it’s not FAIR! It should be a song we BOTH agree on. Otherwise it’s not FAIR.” (Sob, sob). She broke down again a couple minutes later when I refused to take her to Moe’s for dinner, on the grounds that her father was waiting to eat with us at home. Ridiculous of me not to take her out to dinner and completely ignore my husband and his need for dinner. What an awful person. With deep gasping breaths, she wailed, “I just want to choose. One. Thing. I can’t choose anything. Not the music. Not the place for dinner. Not. One. Thing.” (Sob, sob).
She had a come apart when I would not let her bring an enormous stuffed animal to day camp. The thing is bigger than she is. She would/could not understand why that made absolutely no sense at all. More weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
And don’t get me started about dinner. Dinner is a hotbed of emotion, rife with boohooing (infernal) and drama. She NEVER likes what we’re eating. Even if she liked it yesterday. When her father tells her she will eat it or sit at the table until she does, the sobbing begins. She doesn’t want to sit at the table while others are still eating. If she is done, she just doesn’t understand why she is expected to remain until the family is finished. Her protestations often land her in time out. So there she sits on the couch in the sitting room, right across from the dining room, sniffling and wailing. Or treating us with stony silence. Which I much prefer.
And she tells on herself all the time. Bless her heart, she just does not know how to be devious. She’ll be forbidden to watch another movie that day, and later she’ll announce that she watched one with the sitter. Then she is amazed when she gets into trouble. I’ll buy her an outfit, and remind her that her father gets upset when he hears we bought something because the other kids at school have it. Her first cheerful announcement the minute we hit the door? “Mommy bought me some Puma shorts because I wanted them because everyone else has them.” Then we are both in trouble. Hello?
Clothing is a whole other can of worms. The child wants to wear dresses everywhere, all the time. Out to play. To a picnic. Rollerskating. School. Softball. Every time she is refused a dress, there is a major drama scene. And shoes. Lordy. And SOCKS. Something happens with her socks that causes her to have a come apart. If the toes are not aligned perfectly, she has to take the socks off over and over again and put them back on again until the toes feel right. This morning, the tags in her bathing suit were bugging her. She was wearing her new shorts, and for some reason her shirt HAD to be tucked in, and that caused her bathing suit tags to rub her back. ON AND ON she went about it, muttering and sniffling and whimpering, and squirming, and tugging and pulling. But she refused to untuck her shirt. That could not be done, because it was almost as long as the shorts and she wanted everyone to be able to see the new shorts.
And the dancing. That provocative, hip swaying dancing. And the singing. And the songs that she learns. She came home the other day singing, “I’m sexy and I know it!” Rumor has it, a kindergartner was actually booted out of school for singing that song. And Lady Gaga. Which is entirely my fault. I adore Lady Gaga. I think she is a very talented artist and songwriter, and she packages herself brilliantly. So we listen to Lady Gaga in the car. And A learns all those songs. Now there are some songs we skip over. I don’t want her learning/singing them. Because Lord knows, she will.
So the drama – I just don’t know. Like I said, she’s actually a real good, bright kid, and all this makes her sound like a real brat. The whining really gets to me. Can I tell her she’s ruining my life?