Bad Morning in Mommyland

I am usually a problem solving kind of person. If something is not working right I won't stop until I fix it. I have rearranged our apartment until I am absolutely certain that I am making the best use of a relatively small space. I like to plan things. I like to make lists. But some days I am part of the problem.  Some days, I do it all wrong. Some days it is hard to tell which one of us is the grownup, and which one is only four.

Like this morning. Maya woke up kind of whiny. Something about a bad dream and falling in the toilet. (Not a bad dream about falling in the toilet. She apparently really fell into the toilet when she got up in the middle of the night to pee. And then went back to bed. And then had a bad dream. Rough night for Maya.) In any case,  I cannot stand whine before coffee. Makes me cranky. Also, I have my period. Makes me cranky. When it was time to go to school she wanted to finish her drawing. I told her we had to go. She started to protest but then decided better of it and made it out the door with only a tiny pout on her lips.

Well, almost.

There was a snappy comment at the bottom of the stairs.
And a lower lip out, eyes narrowed, meany mean face.
All of which I should have ignored. I am the grownup after all.

Uh, yeah. But the whining. And the no coffee or breakfast yet. And that face! I really hate that face. I mean, really hate it. She looks like she just stuffed a salted grapefruit up her nose.

And so.

We stopped halfway down the block because I refused to continue walking her to school until she dropped the attitude. Maya does not do this well.  By "this" I mean letting go. Moving on. I got: "I'm soooorrry! Lets go!" Mean face. And "MAMA I want to GO NOW." Foot stomp. And "Mama, STOP talking about it and just walk." Mean face. And tears. Lots of tears.

What she was trying to tell me was "Mommy I hear you. And if you just stop harping on me for a second I will swallow my pride, take a deep breath and suck it up. But you have to stop telling me all the things I am doing wrong because it is really hard to not scream and cry when someone is telling you over and over what a f--k up you are." Here is what I should have done: closed my own mouth and walked her down the block, angry face and all. And then halfway there I should have asked her what she was going to do today in school. And she would have smiled and told me. That's all it would have taken to end all of this drama. That's what a mature grownup would have done.

Me? I put my big immature mommy foot down, and then stuffed it right down my own throat. I refused to go to school with "someone who was making that face at me." I wasn't going to "let her start a fight". She wasn't ruining MY morning. Me me me me me. I also said wonderfully helpful statements like "Why do you always have to start fights in the morning?" and "Why can't you just let it go and have a nice walk to school?"

Um, maybe because you won't shut up, mommy.

It wasn't enough that she was angrily, but willingly stomping her way to school. I needed her to do it my way. I needed an apology and a smile on her face.

I really needed some coffee.

How did this end? Well Maya was late for school. Which, predictably, made her sad. She likes routine. When you are late you have to get dropped off at a different entrance and go to the office to get a late pass. By the time she got to her classroom they were already seated on the carpet.

And me? Well I won, right?.She was late just like I told her she would be. Maybe she'll listen the next time I tell her that if she keeps being a brat she will be late for school. But here I am, at home, with my cup of coffee, feeling terrible. It was her fault she had a snappy voice and a mean face. But it was my fault she couldn't let it go. She tried. But I had to get just one more comment in, one more "lesson". How can I expect my four year old to stop whining when I can't do it myself?

Sure sometimes being a mommy is about putting your foot down. About not accepting certain behavior. About proving a point. But sometime being a mommy is about getting your kid to school on time. And this morning a simple hug would have worked wonders. For both of our moods.

Being a grownup is hard.

Its ok though. I am sure this morning won't be the last time my daughter points that mean face at me. I am sure there will plenty of other opportunities to get it right.

See you at pickup time.