Lest you get the erroneous idea that things are all rainbows and sunshine at our house, I have to tell you what my daughter did today. Right now she is in bed asleep which is a good thing because I want to strangle her. Then ground her for a month.
At church this morning I got the bright idea of inviting a friend home to have lunch and play for the afternoon. I knew Curly would love it and I went to M's mom to ask her if it would be all right. We moms agreed and it was arranged. M found out first and hurried off to tell Curly.
Of course Curly was with another friend and M burst her news right in front of E. I should have known the day would go south from there. Not wanting E to feel bad I invited her to come along. (Everyone knows that THREE little girls is trouble. Little girls cannot coexist in odd-numbered groups, it's a mathematical impossibility. One will always be excluded.)
While I was inside the church talking to E's mom and making sure it was okay for her to join us, Curly took her two friends across the church parking lot to climb into our van. Infraction #1 because it is a rule in our family that you do not under any circumstances cross a parking lot without an adult. Especially at church when all the cars are leaving at the same time. Curly has been told this 1,694 times in the last month at least.
She skated by that one until Hubby and I compared notes later, though, because we each thought the other had taken the girls out to the van. We merrily came home where the girls headed downstairs to play. We fed Mister his lunch and took trays down to the "kid table" for the girls. One of their trays founds its way out into the back yard, but I'm not sure I want to know.
It was right about this time we heard drumming and went to investigate. We found Curly INSIDE the fenced-off music area where all of our expensive instruments are kept. She knows not to go in there, especially when other kids are over, but she was showing off for her friends. Infraction #2 and I should have put a stop to things there and then. But Hubby gave her a talking-to and she promised to reform. Naively we believed her.
Next I offered to take Curly, M and E over to the park, so of course they had to run ahead. I called to them to wait and M obeyed, waiting at the curb, but Curly, after waiting for a few minutes, told her friends, "let's go now" and ran into the street. I just about had a heart attack, since we live on the busiest through-way in town. I grabbed E's hand and hurried after. Infraction #3.
When Curly got to the park, she asked for and obtained permission to run ahead with M and they both took off. M easily outdistanced my daughter who not only is a poor runner but also apparently a poor loser. When she found herself left behind, she burst into tears, screaming and stamping her feet. Infraction #4. Rolling my eyes I began talking to her about not needing to win all the time, about being nice to her friends and enjoying their victories, although the sting of old memories haunted me, those times when I was left behind too.
Because M and E were behaving themselves so well, I decided to let Curly go ahead and play with them in the sand at the park rather than try to deal with her ongoing behavior issues. I regretted it almost immediately because she and M began excluding E in spite of two time-outs and a stern lecture on playing nicely with ALL of her friends. Infraction #5 and #6, but who's counting....
E's mom called, wanting to come pick her up, so we headed back home where the girls ran shouting in to the back yard. I followed more slowly and when I got there, Curly had big bulge in her cheek.
"What are you eating?" I asked her in astonishment. She reluctantly spit into my hand a half-ripe tomato she had harvested from my meager garden. I found out later from Hubby after comparing notes that he had explicitly told her NOT to pick my few carefully-grown tomatoes because I was waiting for them to ripen further and I would pick them next week. If there were more, I would not mind and she'd be free to eat as many as she wanted but in this case they were almost beloved children, they were so few and she knew that. She also knew that nonchalantly picking one and showing off to her friends would earn her cool points and I suppose she figured she would not get caught. Infraction #7.
At this point I decided enough was enough. E's mom came to pick her up and I regretfully took M home early. Curly, I think, was shocked that I would end her fun and Hubby summarily sent her up to bed where she promptly fell asleep, utterly exhausted. Neither Hubby nor I had realized the extent of her petty crimes until we sat and compared notes and realized how much she had bossed her friends, tried to show off, broken rules and pretty much been a pill.
I've decided I'd like to be able to disown her. I'll take the child who plays nicely, follows the rules, and never competes with others, thank you very much. The events of today have certainly taught me a lesson. Try to avoid inviting two friends over at the same time and compare notes with Hubby earlier in the day. He and I laughed to find out that in one morning she had done not one or two things, but SEVEN!!! I think some moms would call her "spirited". I call it plain old brattiness and she needs to learn it's not acceptable behavior in our family. I have a feeling the nap she's taking will help a lot, too.