No. I can't Help You

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I have found myself saying this more and more frequently.

Not because I am the meanest mommy on earth (although truth be told, I may be). No.

It is because my daughter is nine. Nine years old. The age at which I walked to school on my own and babysat my brother (alone)  for large chunks of time. The age at which I roamed the neighborhood on my bike and would disappear to the library for whole afternoons. The age at which I can not ever remember my mother making me breakfast, let alone bacon, eggs or pancakes on a week day.

Now, I am not expecting her to be me. When I was her age, my parents had separated and were almost divorced. I had seen and experienced things that I would never,never wish for her. I would, in fact, get stabby if anyone tried to expose her to those things. No, my life was very, very different.

No. I am talking about learned helplessness. I am talking about "I can't pour my own milk" or "I can't turn on my own shower". Without even trying, she calls out "Mama, can you help me?"

I confess to falling for this - Lots. Her father is even worse as he can't bear to hear her fuss or struggle over anything. He is the one who gets up in the morning and makes the pancakes and bacon ( which needs to be chewy, not crispy). Any suggestion to her that she attend to her own breakfast leads to full out tears and conniptions. SHE CAN'T!!! SHE'S JUST A LITTLE GIRL!!!!

This came to a head a few weekends ago. Her father had been away since Wednesday, and she failed to sleep  between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. This intrinsically means that I must be made to fail to sleep as well.  Because who would you complain to about not being able to sleep if you didn't wake your mother up to tell her that you can't sleep? With each day, I was becoming more frayed and irritable.

By Saturday, I had just about had it.  She kept me up Friday night, then woke me at 7:30 a.m. to request - and I quote:

"Scrambled eggs made with cream and bacon. Chewy bacon, cause I don't like it crispy. Chewy , right? and the eggs with cream and ketchup on the side. and can I crack the eggs? Oh, and I want passionfruit juice too. Remember the bacon needs to be chewy. I don't like crispy bacon."

Apparently, the one glaring eyeball that was peering out from under my pillow and the sharp exhale did not CLEARLY signal the impending danger. Shit, Clowns could have been sending her both semaphore and smoke signals from the end of the bed, and I believe she would have blissfully continued her assault.

My head rose higher. "Get yourself something for breakfast", I muttered.

There was moaning.

Followed by rolling around on the bed.


I rolled over and tried to re-establish my position of sleeping.

Intentional Nudging began. Now, my kid is the queen of the intentional nudge. She uses it on me when she can tell I am falling back to sleep. It is designed to get maximum effect with minimum effort. The finger would find a soft space in my arm, and the poke both goes forward, while digging up. A twist pinch poke.

This drives me CRAZY. Like raging bull, Mom gone psycho crazy. Lucky for her about 89% of the time, I am still asleep enough to not know I am being poked. But the 11% of the time I do? Whoa, Baby.

This was one of those days.

I leapt up. Pillows scattering. Eyes aflame. My voice was low and close. It was my mothers voice. The one that she used when she was really angry. The one where I talk through my teeth, while maintaining constant eye contact.

"Let me tell you something. I don't know who gave you the impression that I was placed here to serve you breakfast, but you are woefully mistaken and if you poke me again, you will spend the rest of the day in your room." If memory serves, I may have inserted some swear words. Other vague threats may have been described, but I was half asleep and irrationally mad. In every sense.

And then? I got up and made breakfast. Cause now I was awake and it seemed silly to NOT make breakfast. Right?

July 3, 2007 Gimlet Eye

2 Baleful Regards:

miss selene said...

what's truly sad is i know some so-called adults who are the same way. especially when the opposite gender is around.

I hope she gets broken of it it.

Dawn said...

Well, I wrote this 4 years ago, and she is wise enough to no longer wake me in the morning.

But the bacon thing still holds, and her father faithfully gets up to make her a hot breakfast every day.

But since I have my own bed(room), it bothers me not.

They can glare at each other till the cows come home over the status of the bacon.

Just let me wake up in my own time.

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