Today was the introduction appointment between myself and Teenybop's first therapist. She is sweet though her appearance does not match her personality. I hope Teenybop can get past the stern appearance.
We had a pretty rough morning because the alarm didn't go off so we woke up almost forty five minutes late with only thirty minutes to get ready. Teenybop didn't want to get dressed, she didn't want to put her shoes on, she didn't want to eat her breakfast. Finally after she got into quite a bit of trouble for not listening, it was time to go, and shockingly, we were all ready. We got Teenybop to school without too much drama, dropped her off, and headed home because in the rush to get going I had forgotten that today is Friday ... Therapy day.
I get Piglet settled and she quickly started showing signs of being ready for a nap so I took her to her room and sat down to rock her. She immediately changed her mind, but by then I was reading blogs on my phone browser so I gave her a toy and let her play in my lap while I read. Then I found this post and was almost immediately crying.
"She just wasn't getting it. Clearly, she wasn't sorry at all for what she was doing," the author wrote, of her daughter who had apparently been misbehaving in some manner. I thought of my daughter, my beautiful little Teenybop who is growing up so fast and already beginning to look like a very tiny woman. She is beginning to act like one more and more often too, and we clash because she is rebellious, because she is her own person, because she doesn't mindlessly follow the rules. She challenges them and requires a reason to follow them. We clash ... often because she is like me.
And that's hard, not just because it shows me the places in myself that need work, the places in me that I don't like. It's hard because it is heart-wrenching when you realize that just for a second, you don't like your child. Sure you love them, you might give your life for them ... but there are times in every mother's life when she looks at her child and realizes that she doesn't like the little person she is looking at. But then, it hits her. She doesn't like her child! And the doubts and guilt and self-loathing roll in. What kind of mother doesn't like her own child, her own flesh and blood, the person who was birthed in hours of anticipation!? I'll tell you what kind. Every kind. The very best mother has her moments.
I kept reading, and found more and more to relate to, such as the comment about how forgiving the author's daughter was, just that afternoon it seemed as if the argument were completely forgotten and all that remained was the memory of snuggling after the mother's apology. This, too, reminded me of Teenybop. She is so forgiving of all my faults ... but that just made me feel worse about my relationship with her. I am not nearly as innocent as she is, not nearly as forgiving. What a terrible example.
And that's part of why I got Teenybop in therapy, aside from the other big changes that have piled up on her in the last two years. I don't want to lose my relationship with my daughter. I want her to become a teenager that I can deal with effectively, and a person that I can relate to. I want her to grow into a woman that I can be friends with, one that I can mother in a whole new way once she is grown. At this rate, we are likely to have a rocky relationship, and I just don't want that. So today I loaded Piglet in the car and headed to therapy to introduce myself to the therapist and tell her Teenybop's story.
I was given some new ideas for effective discipline that will not seem so hurtful but still will work well. I have already begun to put the new strategy into practice, and so far what I have is a quietly obedient child who is right now watching Spongebob and thankful that we have made up from this morning. Then again, afternoons are always the most peaceful time of day for us ... we shall see how this strategy works in the mornings.
And in the meantime, it will be Teenybop's turn for introductions with the therapist next Friday. I wonder how it will go, and how the coming week will progress.