Rabbit hole, jr.

In the past week, the girls’ treatment of each other has improved 300%. The privilege of visiting friends is a most powerful motivator, and they are clearly, simply, liking each other more lately. The other day Fenner said, “Charlotte, we haven’t hit or kicked you in a long time. … Mom! We’re treating Charlotte with more respect!” Yay!

Yesterday, however, we did have a small relapse.

While Fenner was at riding, Ellen and Charlotte were playing nicely together again. (So, so love seeing that.) Meanwhile, Charlotte’s new bedroom, which has been under construction for several months, was finally ready. I was moving some of her stuff into it so she could spend her first night in her new room.

Charlotte's room

As I was putting some of her books away, I overheard their voices in Ellen’s room next door: “Charlotte, get out of my swing, I didn’t say you could do that.” “No. Not until you pull out the trundle so I can get in it.” “Charlotte, please. I don’t want you in my swing. Please get out!” “No!!” Charlotte shouted, “I want a turn, you never give me a turn!!!” Then some shuffling around and footsteps running down the hall and then, “OW!!!!” Charlotte began to cry. “Moooom!” She walked into her room where I was standing, “Ellen pushed and scratched my neck!” I looked at Charlotte. “Uh oh,” I said softly, “The things I just heard were not respectful.” She stopped crying and looked at me. “Am I not going to the birthday party?” Charlotte’s best friend’s birthday party was ten days away, just after she had been scheduled to earn back her visiting friends privilege. “Uh …” It was hard for me to say it. I half-whispered, “… I think that’s right.” Just then Ellen appeared in the doorway, “No, mom, you didn’t see it!” I looked at her and said, “But I heard it.” “So I go back to zero too?” I winced and said, “Yes.” Then Charlotte started to wail, “I don’t waaaaaant to miss the party!!!!! I want to gooooooooo!!!!!!” She dropped to her knees and continued crying, “I want to goooooo!!!! … I hate this room!!!! I don’t want it anymore!!!!!! … Give it to someone else!!!!!… I want new parents!!!!!!!…” I sat next to her and put my hand on her back. She moved away. I said, “Charlotte, I know this is hard. You have all really been getting the hang of this thing. You will do it. You will get to see your friends. It’s just going to take more practice.” “Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!”

At that point the voice of doubt piped up in my head: Is this right? Should I be doing this? Is this doing more harm than good? Do I make an exception for birthday parties? Maybe if I attended it with her? But I don’t want to go to the party. And we already agreed that she’d have to earn this privilege in order to go. If I go back on that now, they’ll stop taking this thing seriously. I took a deep breath and said, “Do you want some time by yourself?” “Yes! … But mom, you didn’t put Fenner and Ellen back to zero that time.” “When was that?” “I don’t know … like a few days ago.” I paused, trying to remember what she was talking about, and then I said, “Remember, I don’t want this job and I’m not very good at it. I’m going to get it wrong sometimes. But you all have made amazing progress. Just a little more practice and you’ll have it!”

It was getting close to bedtime and as I headed downstairs I heard Fenner ask Charlotte, “Are you going to get ready for bed?” “No! I don’t want any mommy time!” “Well, you don’t have to let her in … will you please just get ready?” “No!” said Charlotte. I continued down the stairs and Ellen followed. “So what’s my new date?” she asked. “Um, let’s see, Charlotte’s got until the 23rd now, and you ‘til the 30th.” “Ugh! Oh well.” I put my arm around her and gave a squeeze. Then suddenly from the top of the stairs I heard Charlotte’s voice, “Mom! Come quick I have to show you something!” I went back up and she was skipping toward the window in her new room excitedly. “Look! A deer!” Out in the meadow I could see the head of a deer poking up from the long grass. “I saw it walking around and then it lied down!” “Awwww,” I said, “She looks so cute.” “I think it’s a boy deer,” she said and then she skipped down to the bathroom to brush her teeth and get ready for bed.

When I came in to say goodnight she said, “Let’s see if the deer is still there!” We peered into the fading light of dusk and could just barely still make out the deer’s head. “Yep, still there,” she said with a big smile. We both said goodnight to the deer, and in my head I added, ‘And thank you.’

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 10: The Rabbit Hole

2 Comments on “Rabbit hole, jr.”

  1. Shalagh Says:

    Hi –
    I’ve been reading for a few weeks now and I just want to tell you how amazing this blog is. I took Vicki’s class last fall and we are trying our best to make some real changes with our 6 and 4.5 year old girls – so the girls being “disrespectful” is right up my alley! I too held my 6 year old from a birthday party last week and it was really hard – but I already know I did the right thing.
    I’ll be so sad when your blog ends. It has been really truly helpful and inspiring!!!

    • flockmother Says:

      Thanks for writing — love hearing that following through with missing the birthday party feels right to you. On the surface it feels so mean. But deep down I know I would feel just as yucky, but in a different way, if I caved.

      Thanks for reading and good luck with your girls!

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