All last week Addie sat quietly on the couch or in her room refusing to say a word. She hadn’t felt good and she wasn’t in the mood to be talkative. She had also lost her voice, so even if she wanted to talk she wasn’t going to be able to. Casey and I were stunned at how quiet the house was all week. It was almost as if Addie was invisible and that just didn’t seem right.
Then sometime around 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning everything Addie had stored up came exploding out of her like a verbal firework. The noise that came out of that kid shocked us all. It was like she had saved up a full week’s worth of conversations and decided to let them all out within a 15 minute time span.
Unfortunately for Addie, she hadn’t bothered to clean her room over the past couple weeks, so she was going to have to direct the verbal diarrhea that was coming out of her mouth at her room. That caused the first little dispute between Addie and Casey.
I left for the gym and work like I do every Saturday morning leaving Casey with Addie and Vivi. By the time I got home, which was shortly after lunch, Addie’s room was only partially clean and Casey looked like she had been alone with two kids for several months. Addie had given Casey all she could handle.
Several mom tones and Addie cries later, Addie finally got her room clean. That pattern of disobedience continued over the weekend.
One constant theme throughout Addie’s little outbursts was the constant explanation that she just couldn’t figure out why she could listen and obey at school but couldn’t do that at home. I figured it was just Addie trying to get some kind of sympathy because she has been really good at school.
Well, last night I got a bit more concerned with the excuse.
Addie wanted to play the computer, but I wouldn’t let her because I wanted her to hang out with me and Vivi. She wasn’t in trouble and she didn’t get any kind of mean parenting tone directed at her. Addie said, “I’m a horrible child.” I asked her what she was talking about and she said it again, “I’m a horrible child.” The tone of her voice was serious. She really thought she was a horrible child.
I asked her why she thought she was a horrible child and she said it was because she couldn’t obey at home like she could at school.
I assured her that she was not a horrible child and that she wasn’t even in trouble. She smiled at me and went about playing with Vivi as if nothing had happened, but it caused me to wonder whether the discipline we give her is causing negative effects. Will my child one day have a blog that she uses to target Casey and me as the sources of all her problems—or at least some of her problems?
I’m know we’re not perfect parents. We’ve learned that parenting is largely a learn on the job type of job, but I’m not sure if we will ever really know whether we are screwing up our kids until it is either clear that they aren’t screwed up or that it is too late to do anything about it anyway.
More on Dadding: