I’ve realized in the last few weeks that I’m experiencing a transformation. Before my mom identity was one of “mom to toddler,” and now it’s being transformed to a mom of a preschooler. I’m responsible for new things now. Like getting my child to and from school on time, checking her backpack, reading school papers, signing permission slips, sending in field trip money, remembering a show and tell item, and helping with craft projects.
Last week I didn’t remember the show and tell until we were almost walking out the door and then in panic called Husband and said, “Quick! What can Monkey bring that starts with the letter “L??” My mind had gone completely blank. Wanna know what we decided? A lunchbox. How lame. But she didn’t seem to mind. It was only after I left that Husband called back to say that we could have grabbed her lovey or her mama lion that she sleeps with every night. Whoops!
There are just so many new things to think about and remember. Like I need to remember to replace the pair of socks that stays in her backpack because she wore them for gym class last week and now they need to be washed.
And I don’t think the transformation is unique to me. I think Monkey is undergoing one too. It might be partially her age (3.5), but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re suddenly experiencing a lot more defiance, hyper behavior, and MAJOR attitude. She’s been shouting a lot and purposely throwing extended temper tantrums about the most mundane things (it’s so painfully obvious that she’s not that upset about something, but that she’s going to make herself continue to fake cry, shriek and moan if it kills her).
Yet at school her teacher gives me glowing reviews. She says that Monkey is really “with it,” she does a great job helping and she was even picked to be the line leader. 😉 And she loves it! Loves all of it! After her first day she said she wanted to go to school every day.
I think she’s trying to grapple with her newfound responsibilities too. She’s learning how to conduct herself in a social setting. She’s learning to do things that she’s never had to do before; rules that she’s never had to follow. And it’s hard.
I think that’s why she’s getting home and losing her sh*t. She just can’t hold it all together for that long!
Even though Monkey has always been high energy, for a fleeting moment I was afraid that all of her super hyper activity was a sign that she was ADHD. But I don’t think that’s really it. I think she’s just learning how to navigate this next phase in her life, and sometimes that manifests itself in some super psycho behavior. There’s nothing that makes you feel like a terrible parent more than a child who suddenly acts like a first-rate brat.
It seems to be getting easier. Yesterday we played with her dolls on the floor and I marveled at her. I saw her. I saw what she was becoming. Thoughtful, studious, and gaining a better grasp on her world and how it works, day by day. Self-assured, opinionated and independent.
I wanted to be playful and she was serious. I wanted to goof around and she chastised me. I put a fake grass skirt on my head and pretended it was a wig. She asked me to take it off. I wanted to drive the car through the house. She told me that we can’t drive cars through houses. I had to play the way she wanted to play. I had to follow her rules.
“Mama, please don’t do that now.”
“Mama, don’t lay down and play. Sit up.”
“Mama, they’re not going to eat lunch now, they’re going to take a nap.”
I see you.
I see what you’re becoming. I like it.
I see what I’m becoming. And I like it too.
We’ll try to weather the next phase as gracefully as we can.