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Language Log

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 - 6:47 a.m.

First, we know what day it is. A Tuesday again, like it was that time. I still can't think about that day without crying.

Yesterday was rough. Q has discovered the tactic of repeating what she wants over and over and over ad infinitum, whether or not we say no. We are steadfast in our nos, but she hasn't learned that yet and still has hope that her method will prevail. Yesterday on the way home from playing at the gym, she wanted her music class music. I wanted to listen to the radio. I said I would listen to my stuff some, and then she could listen to her music. But no-- unable to process the deal or deferral of gratification, she repeated "Music class music. Music class music. Music class music PLEASE" over and over, started crying, screaming, etc (before we even got out of the parking lot, mind you). Introduced a few variants (like chanting that I should turn the radio off, or play different music, or that she wanted water, which she had had but dropped on the floor behind the driver's seat). All the way home. It's a half hour drive. No number of calm, "I said NO. Not right now"s made her reconsider her strategy. By the time we were halfway home, I was a sobbing puddle myself from the strain of not screaming at her to shut the fuck up or smacking her upside the head.

All of which is to say, while I can't say I retained my composure, I did not give in-- either to her, or to my urge to shock her into silence for a few moments. I repeated a mantra to myself: "You are tired. She is tired. She is 2. You are an adult. You will not frighten your child. You will not. Drive carefully."

I know you shouldn't congratulate yourself overmuch on simply doing what you're supposed to do, but I'm proud of myself. I was not unkind to her. I did not scare or hurt my child in a shortsighted move to provide myself with false, momentary relief. Hurray, me. Small victories. I will celebrate them. It's all fine to take credit for being patient when you haven't really been tested-- another thing entirely to hold up when you are REALLY not feeling it. Let me tell you, that shit was not easy.

Fortunately, J was home and ready to take over as soon as we pulled into the carport. I don't know how single parents do this.

Anyway, I got more sleep today and the cold seems to have dissipated. I'm not sure what to do when we go to the music class today. I'm usually fine listening to her music on the way there, but it really isn't very enjoyable, and on the way home I want to hear something else. And now I'm worried that if I put on her music on the way home, she'll think her tactic yesterday worked. And it may have, as I am not too interested in going through that again today. Will she even remember what she did yesterday to attribute it as the cause of my compliance today? That seems like a stretch.

She went through a very brief period (about 2-3 days) a couple months ago of trying out biting as an expression of anger. We managed to cure her of that quickly. I hope we can find some way to quickly convince her that this monotonous repetition thing isn't worth the effort, either.


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