Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Take a Deep Breath

I'm not sure if it is the summer heat, or what, but my Pumpkin has been consistently on the brink of a meltdown at every. single. moment. of the day. I feel like I am living with a prepubescent preteen, instead of a toddler.

I recall a time in my own life when I was sure my parents were going to kill me because of my constantly changing mood, and temper. Now that I am an adult, my mother tells me that all she could do was walk away and let me do whatever it was that I wanted to do. I wouldn't back down until I got my way, so the fight would surely end with me having another sleepover or being able to stay out roaming the roads as late as I wanted to.

But my almost three year old is acting just like I did when I was a preteen, and this scares the *beep-beep* out of me.

A little while ago, she came running up to me announcing with a wiggle, that she needed to go potty. So as usual, we raced to the potty. She makes it about three steps up the stairwell before I swoop her up and run the rest of the way. This is normal. It's what happens five to seven times per day.

When she was seated on the throne, like the princess that she is, I kept waiting to hear the usual tinkle tinkle, but it wasn't happening. I waited about three minutes, which feels more like three hours when its thirty degrees in the bathroom (that's a long story about air conditioner placement). Then I finally said: "Aren't you gonna go pee?"

Pumpkin: "I don't really need to go."
Me: "OK then. Let's go back downstairs." 
Pumpkin (screaming): "NOOOOOO! I CAN'T WANT TO GO DOWNSTAIRS!!!!" 
Me (taken back a bit by the outrage):"Why not? We are all done here if you aren't going potty"
Pumpkin: "I just don't want to." 
Me: "Well Mommy wants to. Let's go play play dough"  (thinking bribery might work)
Pumpkin: "I don't care about play dough Mommy." 
Me: "What do you want to do?"
Pumpkin: "Nothing."
Me: "OK let's go do 'nothing' downstairs where it's cool."
She stared blankly at me.
So I reached out to lift her off the lieu and all hell broke loose. At this point, she is having a full on meltdown, I am sweating because its a sauna up there, and I can already tell that this isn't going anywhere good, quickly.

I let her go and looked her square in the eye and pulled the card.... "Mommy's the boss, let's go."
Then she said, with a eerily familiar and stubborn tone... "No, I'M the boss." 
I said "Oh really? I don't think so little Missy."

Then she said it... 

"Just take a deep breath Mommy."

Plain and simple. Calm as can be. Just like that.

"Just take a deep breath Mommy."

Without one more word, I slung my thirty-two pound piece of work over my shoulder and walked down the stairs. After depositing the screaming banshee safely on the couch, I walked into the kitchen and I cried.

By the time my self-pity-party was over the tears had dried, I realized that not only am I raising an independent and intelligent daughter with a very large personality and my ringlets, but I am actually raising MY-SELF because I have never dealt with a child like this before. She is the opposite of her predecessor sister. And the kicker...the kicker is she knows it.

"Just take a deep breath Mommy."

I'm the one that taught her how to take a deep breath when things feel crazy, but I thought I taught her this because if we didn't breathe-deep together we wouldn't survive the three years left until Kindergarten.

But now I know that I taught her this for myself.

So that she could eventually tell me to take a deep breath at a completely out-of-control moment when I forgot to tell myself.

And I would listen to her.


  1. We really do finish raising ourselves as we raise our children. And we sometimes we need our private pity parties. They aren't a bad thing. {{hugs}}

    1. It's a hard battle sometimes, but I know it will be worth it when someday she has a daughter who tells her to take a deep breath too! :)

  2. Isn't it amazing to hear your own words coming out of your child's mouth? I too have the pleasure of raising a daughter who is exactly like me and it makes me really glad that my mother didn't murder me in my sleep.

    Stopping by from SITS

  3. HA HA HA! It's the whole "come full-circle" moment, eh? It creeps me out! Thanks for visiting!

  4. Hi Kate,

    What a great post. I was totally there when my older daughter was 4. She's 11 now and a lot better. Sometimes she is still stubborn and has fits, but for the most part, she's grown into a very mature and delightful child. So age three is not necessarily a preview of age 13.

    By the way, you won my art postcard giveaway on my blog. Can you send me your mailing address (go to my Contact Me form on my blog, and I'll mail them right out.


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