Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Power of Words

The last few days I have been thinking about the power of words. When I was younger I had a good appreciation for the power of words. I learned pretty early on that when my sister and I had an argument, if I could keep my hands to myself and just use words to egg her on, eventually she'd get madder than a wet hornet and smack me. Then I could get her in trouble for hitting me. Now life has come full circle, and I find myself on the other side of the stinging words.

I have been having lots of battles with Gracie lately. We've had a lot of change in our lives lately, what with moving and starting a new school. We've all felt a bit out of control, but Gracie has taken to throwing temper tantrums when she doesn't get her way. They are usually directed at me, and almost include the statement that makes me crazy: "You don't love me!!!!" I'm not sure why it gets to me - I know I love her, and I know that whatever discipline or decision she's rebelling against is one that I made in love, yet when she says it, I just feel my head start to explode.

"Of course I love you, I'm your Mommy!" I'll snap.

"No you don't - you're mean to me all the time!" She'll sob back.

Sometimes she'll list my transgressions - I made her clean her room, I made her do her homework, I wouldn't let her have a chocolate bar five minutes before dinner and so on. Ah yes - I can see now how evil I am.

Sometimes, like Wednesday, I'll totally blow it and lose my cool. After listening to her tell me for eight blocks in rush hour traffic that I don't love her because we weren't stopping at McDonald's for dinner I hollered at her - "Gracie if you say that one more time before we get home I will wash your mouth out with soap when we get there!" She didn't say it again, but I listened to accusatory sniffles all the way home.

Other times I'll rise to the occasion and realize that it's just the rantings of a young child that is feeling so out of control of her environment that she's pulling some words out of her vocabulary that have a pretty reliable outcome. We get home, I scoop her out of her car seat and we go inside and snuggle. I give her mommy hugs, kisses and cuddles while I reassure her of my love and remind her of all the good things that happened - how after her room was clean we went to the park, and how she is learning to read her book all by herself, and how we had a dessert after our dinner was finished. At the end, she's calm again and runs off to play. Later that night as I'm tucking her in she looks at me and says, "Good night Mommy. I love you and you love me, right?"



mommysimcik said...

so sweet, sniff,sniff

gina said...

Maybe its the age - Drew spent a good fifteen minutes in the car today listing all the ways that I show that I don't care about him and his brothers. Got to love it!