It had to happen, but it was nonetheless shocking. This morning for the first time, my daughter Vivian was as pissy and bratty and seemingly heartless to me as she’s been to my husband for the past several years. I believe her attitude shift heralds and end of an era, and Formerly Hot readers know that I don’t weather ending eras easily.
I know that a five-year-old telling her old moms to bite the big one (my words) is a perfectly normal developmental stage, signifying she’s becoming independent, which is a veritable testament to my overall skill as a parent, blah-de-blah blah. I’ve seen many a lovely kid her age tell an adored parent that she hates her, that she’s a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad person if told to put her shoes on when she’s not in the mood. Evidently Vivian feels loved and safe enough to be a complete snot-bucket.
But boy, when you go from being the family rock star, the favorite parent, the one who is fought over, emulated, worshiped, showered with endless affection and literally cheered when she enters a room, this fall from the top of top of the charts is bruising. Peter Frampton, I feel you, man.
Of course, she’s sassed me before; the difference is that a single eyebrow raised in disapproval used to be enough to get her to “rethink her choices,” as parenting experts put it. This time, even when I said I’d get out of the car if she didn’t stop whining (the dreaded withdrawal-of-mommy’s-physical-presence threat has never failed!) she replied, “OK, fine.” I repeated the threat (regretting that I made it because I didn’t want to walk). “Then do it,” she said.
So I did. Later, I asked my husband if she showed any remorse. “Hmmm, not really,” he said. I asked if she realized my leaving was intended as a punishment (which it would have been just last week.) Paul said he didn’t think so. “I think she may have felt like she was punishing you.”
Which she was! Holy shit. Who got a ride to school and who had to hoof it? D’oh! I’m so not making that threat again unless I’m wearing flats.
Go ahead, tell me I’m lucky that she’s been a little lovebug this long, and that her behavior bodes well for her not being a doormat when she gets older. I’ll agree with you. But I’ll still be a little bit sad.