The one about how I once feared that you won’t love me again

I always knew that this day will come but I didn’t expect it to come so soon. Particularly not after I’ve known her for some time now and she can be incredibly joyful, sweet and loving. I have a perfect child – for me.

It started a few weeks back. One day, Joy refused to leave when I was at her pre-school to pick her up. She told me that she didn’t want to leave with me. Distractions didn’t work, reasoning didn’t work and being loving to her didn’t work either. We took the meltdown out from pre-school (because they really needed to close) to the places we have to pass through to go home, she stopped by the roadside in front of a traffic light and told me “I don’t love you anymore“, “I don’t want you“.

She said those words to me like she really meant it. I was heartbroken and she wouldn’t let me touch her. So in the glorious sunset, I sat by the roadside with her on the steps for a long time, waiting for her to finish venting out her anger. She didn’t seem to want to end it, she wanted to go on and on and I didn’t know what to do. In the end, I carried her home despite her very strong protests because I felt that we were at a place that was unsafe for us if she should suddenly decide to run away from me.

It happened again and again. In addition to saying that she doesn’t love / want me anymore, my very loving and sweet child started to act like a spoilt brat, demanding this and that, crying when she doesn’t get her way. Sometimes, her will is stronger than mine. Although I’ve heard about the terrible twos and expected to experience it, I feel like a failure of a mother and I told the hubs that I don’t know what I’m doing or how to bring her up anymore.

It got to a point where I stopped feeling sure about whether it’s because she was going through the terrible twos or she was terribly spoilt. Some family members told me “she’s too used to it”, but I’m not sure what “it” is. The thing about it that I’m now pondering over is – is there a difference?

If she was going through a difficult time understanding expectations / her own feelings, I ought to be understanding and *breathes* try to be patient. If she was spoilt, I (feel like) I ought to let her vent out her frustrations then explain things to her after she’s calmed down, usually during our nightly chats. But I’m also a human being leh.

I’ve tried a few things.

First, distraction. Diminishing returns, works less and less the more I use it because she now expects me to try and distract her in a meltdown and she refuses to see / hear what I have to say.

Next, I told her that if she doesn’t want me, she’s gotta leave wherever we were, because I’m staying wherever I was. It was so hard to say those words to her and it totally backfired on me because she became super heartbroken and asked me why didn’t I want her. I still can’t believe I said that to her.

Then, since she said that she wants to nurse when she’s upset, I told her “neh neh is mummy, so you want mummy?” ( #引导证人做口供 #leadingthewitnessintestimony) but she mostly still said she didn’t want me. It only worked to make me feel better if and when she said yes, doesn’t solve the problem.

And then I tried educating with love / 爱的教育。Each time she said she didn’t want me, I would tell her “but I want you”. Each time she said she didn’t love me, I would tell her “but I love you very much” (which are all true anyway). She got confused for a while at first, so it worked for a bit, but it didn’t stop her feeling upset.

The only thing that seem to actually work so far was me saying “sorry” to her verbally and with hand sign for being stern (she said she felt very hurt) and getting her to do the same for throwing a tantrum ( I said I felt upset that she wouldn’t tell me what it was but kept on getting into a state of anger). Then talking to her about how she felt then and why. Sometimes she tells me “我想一下” (“let me think for a bit”) or “我不知道” (“I don’t know”) when I asked her about the why. Sometimes, she insists she was right to be upset but I’d notice that sometimes her attitude towards me would be softer when I remind her of our promise not to be fierce / angry with each other. So I’m sticking to this for a while until I figure out something else.

We haven’t gotten over this phase as of now, but I’ve since learnt a few things from talking to her when she’s not upset and from observation.

(1) It doesn’t really happen if she had a nap that day (observation)
(2) She’s mad at me for not joining her in school. She wants me to get a set of uniform for myself to show my commitment in joining her in school (she told me) – which makes me feel like I should take her out of pre-school, am I over-thinking?
(3) She wants things to go the way she wants them to (observation)
(4) Somebody told her “I don’t want you / I don’t dote on you if [insert behaviour undesired by person saying this]” and I’m suffering from paranoia that she feels abandoned because its repeatedly said to her out of habit, no matter how I protest. (Overheard a few times. I suppose this is observation – which makes my blood boil, condense, turn into liquid and re-boil)

I (badly) want my sweet little girl back. I keep on telling myself that this is a phase and she’ll get over it but I’m unsure this time round. It’s just a day at a time for me now.

Ending this with a photo I love, taken on a day she told me she loved me very much. (story here)
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10 Replies to “The one about how I once feared that you won’t love me again”

  1. I am quite sure she loves you and I am also positive it is the terrible twos. She is still trying to understand herself, so she isn’t able to express how she feels to you. The easiest way is for her to make you help her figure out. I am getting the same from J. I do get exasperated as well. I am just keeping myself positive by telling myself my sweet boy will definitely be back! Sweet joy will come back too! Jia you!
    shermeen’s most recent post : Agape Babies – A reviewMy Profile

    1. I’m a sensitive old woman, too used to her sweet ways so when she started to say things like that,(in her own words) “I so sad!”

      Yup Jiayou to you too! May the sweet nature of our children shine through once again!

  2. You know, I’ve realised that Poppy acts up too when she’s not had a nap! Don’t worry, it will pass. Just have to keep smiling and hugging and loving and letting her know there’s no way she can get rid of you

    But her asking you to get a set of uniform for yourself! Too funny!!!
    Adora’s most recent post : What does it mean to be a Child?My Profile

    1. LOL well, there is no way she can get rid of me hehehehe that’s for sure. #creepymom

      IKR! The uniform things is so funny! It took a lot for me to stop myself laughing out. Hehhe

  3. I can feel how sad you are as I was reading this! Hugs. It’s really quite strange behaviour, especially since she is usually so affectionate towards you. For Noah, I’ve noticed that he becomes unreasonable when he’s exhausted, as in he would cry for me, asking to be carried, but when I do, he continues crying, and screams, ‘No no no!’
    I hope that Joy goes back to her usual self really soon. You’ve been dealing with her so patiently, I’m sure she knows you love her very much.
    Adeline’s most recent post : Twenty-ThreeMy Profile

    1. Yes :( I’m so very sad she said those things, although after writing this and hearing from many people, I feel like I have a better idea how to deal with it.

      THE NAP is a biggie to me because she’s ok if she’s well rested. I’m working on getting her to nap on her own, anytime she needs it so she doesn’t feel so upset when she’s exhausted.

      Thank you for feeling for me <3

  4. I read somewhere that the quickest way to stop a tantrum is to hug your child until she calms down. Lauren is only 21 months old now, but she has shown signs and traits of what they call ‘terrible two’. (Btw, I refrain from using the term, I call it a development milestone when they learn they could have control of what they want and are just testing their boundaries). I find that holding her close to me without uttering a word until she calms down helps. Or just do the complete opposite and ignore her helps too. If anyone else and I try to pacify her or talk to her during meltdown, her cry would actually last longer and become louder.
    Michelle’s most recent post : How To Prepare Your Older Child For A New BabyMy Profile

    1. She’s a strong willed one who rejects touch when she’s upset, but I know she loves hugs – it’s just that I wanted to let her know I respect her if she doesn’t want me to touch her. Otherwise, hugging is one of our favorite things to do.

  5. Hi estella,
    Can feel how sad you are and being a stay home mum too.

    I bought a series of book . “When I’m feeling angry”. “When I’m feeling kind” etc . You can try to explain with these books.

    I also teach Nixon different expressions to express his emotions. (I read that teach angry is good ) which I’m not sure if all mum teaches. For eg. When he is show that he is angry, i acknowledged and tell him” I know you are angry but you have to blah blah…”

    But mostly what works for Nixon is when he pout to show angry, i pout back and slowly go closer to him and kiss his lips. He sure laugh and keep he will pout it again, for fun but not really angry anymore.

    Jia you!

    1. I talk it out with Joy since she’s been receptive to it but I think I should look at different ways of teaching her about emotions. Thanks for the useful ideas!

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