Category Archives: frustration

Little red riding hood…

Little red riding hood and the big bad wolf…

One of the odder things about living in New Jersey is the existence of blooming roses in December and January. They simply will not die!! I am pleased to see new buds every few weeks. Monkey is on permanent rose watch, checking them each morning on the way to school. She has definately mastered the stopping to smell the roses aspect of life.

I am with Hatchet in the argumentative child department, but I fear I only have myself to blame. She attended law school classes with me for 3 out of 5 of her formative years, one can only imagine that rubbed off on her.

This morning was a lovely example of the daily arguing:

She woke up 30 minutes early and came into my room.
Monkey: Mommy, the sun is out!
Me: Morning honey, what time is it?
Daddy: mumble mumble…. 7…. grunt
Me: Please go get dressed and I will be up in a minute
Monkey: no
Me: Monkey, you need to get ready for school, please go get dressed
Monkey: I don’t want to
Me: Your dad is trying to sleep a little longer, please go get dressed, I will be right out!
Monkey: Mom! I don’t want to!
Me: If I have to ask again, I will not be happy.
Monkey: I don’t WANT TO!!
Me: 1…2…3….
Monkey: **fierce growls of frustration, stomping out of our room.** FINE!!

Sigh, it is always a bad sign when the first conversation of the day is an argument. It followed with breakfast (didn’t want what I made), teeth (didn’t want to brush), shoes (was too busy playing leapfrog to put them on), and coat (didn’t need it).
By the time I got her in the car we were already late, and I was developing a headache.

I think I am going to have to begin sending her to school in bare feet without her teeth and hair brushed on an empty stomach. How long do you think I will be able to keep that up before I get approached with a child neglect concern?

Yesterday, after arguing with me over everything all day, I asked her if she had to argue with me over every single thing! Her answer: No. She argued about arguing!! Argh!!

However, she is getting better at cleaning her room, doing her homework, and eating her dinner, so I am counting my blessings. Also, I have learned from reliable sources that this argumentation is the cost of intelligent children. So, my choices are frustration, or fewer smarts. hmmm….

Another political message:

Save the big bad wolf!!

(image from

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to release a proposal to strip wolves of their Endangered species act protections across most of Wyoming and de-list wolves in Idaho, where the state is poised to kill up to 75% of the wolves living in the Lolo district of the Clearwater National Forest. Changing the status of the wolves will likely allow the use of aerial gunning and other lethal control methods to kill as many as two-thirds of the wolves in Wyoming and as many as 54 of Idaho’s 65 wolf packs. The states are interested in lowering the wolf population because they cause losses to livestock on some farms and ranches. However, this natural wolf-like behavior is the exact reason they were listed endangered to begin with. Wolves were eradicated from their historic ranges when humans began using those habitats for ranching and farming, and the wolves began hunting livestock as their natural prey disappeared.

If the US Fish and Wildlife service is allowed to delist wolves, there is no expectation that they will remain a recovered species. In fact, with two states already poised to destroy more than half the current population, there is no reason to expect wolves will survive long at all.

Please visit the petition site and lend your voice to the outcry against destorying wolves once again. We worked so hard to get this species to recover, do not allow FWS to strip them of thier protections now!!

Liar Liar…

Lying rears its ugly head…

Okay, so I am a little psycho about lying and secrets. After working with children who were sexually abused, it is easy to worry about those magic phrases of horror “don’t tell anyone” and “It’ll be our little secret.” I have worked very hard with Monkey trying to get her to understand that we don’t keep secrets from mommy and daddy, and we don’t lie. (I understand that she will get to a point in her development when she will need to do both those things, but by then she will be old enough to know that she needs to tell me if anything abusive is going on.)

Which is why my mind is in complete panic mode tonight.

My story begins several weeks ago when Devon and I were driving back from Lowe’s with Monkey. We were laughing about something and she said “If you two don’t stop laughing, I’m gonna kick your ass.” I would love to say I was shocked but it was too funny for me to anything but snicker uncontrollably. When Devon and I had regained control, I asked Monkey where she had heard it. She got really quiet and said “I don’t want to tell you.”


That phrase began the worst night we had had in a long while. It took four hours, a grounding, loss of tv for a week, and loss of computer for a week for her to tell me where she had heard it. So my little plan of teaching my daughter not to keep secrets from me or lie to me had seemingly backfired. We had another long talk about how important it is for her to tell me the truth. We talked about trust and safety. We held firm to the consequences and continue to express the importance of truth and openess in our family.

So tonight she calmly asks me if she can say “what the fuck?”. I answered no of course and then asked where she had heard it. Sigh.

“I made it up.”

She was in her room in minutes with the directions that she would not leave her room until she told me where she heard it and had stopped lying to me. She spent twenty minutes screaming “I made it up mommy, I promise” before I walked in to her room and told her to look me in the eye and tell me the truth. She calmed down, looked me in the eye, and said “I made it up mommy, I promise.”

(At this point, I had a slight problem. The first thing she asked me after I asked her where she heard it was “Are you going to call their mommy and daddy and tell them I told?” I told her I didn’t know if I was going to call them but she still needed to tell me who said it. That’s when she claimed to have made it up.)

Why would she ask if I was going to tell someone’s parents if she made it up? I ask her after being bold faced lied to.

She says “I would really like an answer to that question.”

I tell her “I am sure you would, but you can’t keep secrets, even if I am going to call their mommy and daddy and tell them, so please stop lying to me.”

So she screams “I am not lying to you, I made it up!!”

At this point I want to bang my head against a wall until I can no longer feel pain. Instead, I tell her “fine, I will not call their parents, who said it.”

She responds “someone at school” and later gives me a name.

Now the problem is, she has been lying to me over and over and over again for the past half hour, she has begged me to believe the lie, has promised me she is telling the truth, has acted offended that I would doubt her veracity, has looked me in the eye and lied to me. I tell her, you are still grounded in your room, because you lied to me. Why did you lie?

“I wanted to be a good friend.”

SO we had a long talk about how lying to mommy and keeping secrets does not make you a good friend, and friends who ask you to keep secrets are not good friends. We talked again about safety and truthfulness and trust.

What in the world am I going to do if she keeps flat out refusing to tell me when other people have done something wrong? How could I have worked this hard to insure her safety, only to have completely screwed it up?


Hysteria, reading, and going for the Oscar…

So, we are working on reading. I have developed a series of fun interactive games to help her learn to read. For example, we make letters out of rope, name words that begin with those letters, and then walk the letter tightrope. We made a ladybug word wheel, that had a strip of letters rotating in the middle, and the letter “ug” on the end, so we can get hug, bug, rug, etc. We have a basket of letters that she gets to pick from, and we write and read as many words that begin with that letter, we have alphabet bingo, we have level appropriate books. Each time we start a new activity, she is engaged and happy, and does really well. However, each time we go back to an old activity, she doesn’t want to work at it. She sighs after each letter, she cries if she can’t read the word the very first time, and in the end, she is a screaming, crying mess. I have not been a pushy, mean mommy. I have not let my frustration show. When she gets like this, I tell her we will go back to reading later, when she is less frustrated. This results in her blowing up and screaming and crying even harder. Right now, she is in her room screaming her head off about how she “will give me all her attention and won’t yawn anymore”. I put her down for a nap after we tried to read the word “huff” about three hundred times. We were having a really hard time, she was getting really tired, but she didn’t want to stop, and each time I suggested it, she got really upset. She would sound the word out, get it right, forget it, sound it out, yawn, get it right, cry, calm down, sound it out while yawning and rubbing her eyes, forget it, sound it out… you get the picture. I told her we would try again later, but each time I tell her that she starts screaming about how she is never going to read, that it is too hard.

Is it wrong to want to just scream when your kid complains that the 30 minutes to an hour of game filled reading exercises are too hard? I mean, it must be hell on wheels to have to circle all the items in a picture that begin with the letter f. It must be the worst thing ever to have to sit still for five minutes trying to read the world “bug” on a ladybug shaped word wheel that you get to spin for the beginning letter. Argh!!

And yet, if I show my frustration, she is going to pick up on it and this will all get worse. The worst about it is, she is good! She is reading! She read five pages of a book this morning in about 10 minutes, and then she melted down into madness. Yesterday, she read all the words on her bug wheel, and then melted down into madness. The more she is able to read, the more she cries about not being able to read. We celebrate each word she reads with hugs and smiles, but any time she encounters a single hard word, she loses it. We talk about how reading is hard, and no one picks up a book and starts reading it right away. We discuss the importance of practice, but she still gives up right away.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Laudanum?