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.
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