Suddenly my adorable youngest offspring has turned into a stark raving angst ridden teenager. How did this happen? She’s only five years old. Often times I feel more like I’m aiming to break a horse rather than raise a child. I know it’s a horrible thing to say, comparing my own little girl to a wild horse, but I said it and now its out there, sort of like when a cat hacks up a hairball, it just gets to hacking and despite the pitiful stares, there’s not much it can do but continue hacking until the hairball is up and out. So I guess that’s where I am. I’ve already put the words out there so I might as well hack out the rest.
Anyway, as I was saying, I’m breaking a horse instead of raising a five year old. We have our battles, Alex and I, about ten times a day and in the end, I can’t tell you who won, we both walk away dissatisfied. When our arguments finally come to a halt, Alex clomps her hooves angrily as she heads off in the opposite direction all the while pouting her lips with arms folded tightly at her chest like she’s trying to muffle the rage. I too trot off, eyes filled to the brim with tears, unblinking to avoid wetting my cheeks.
Alex is a tough one alright. To be so little she sure knows how to hurt me with single-syllabic words. The word ‘NO!’ can be awfully cutting when proclaimed with a growl and whinny. ‘NO!’ coming out of the mouth of a five year old is like a Ginzu knife running through a tomato, so quick, so effective – tomato juice running out onto the cutting board – talk about a pitiful sight. And when that knife punctures me, those hurtful proclamations and the hoof stomping, there is not a trace of tomato juice, instead the only thing coming out of me are etch-a-sketch threats like, “Don’t even think about watching Sunday morning cartoons, because you’re not getting any!” Then, come Sunday morning, there she is plopped down in front of the TV, engrossed. I stand there, etch-a-sketch in hand, shaking it vigorously like a danged fool.
When I was pregnant with my oldest, adorable offspring, I envisioned myself raising my child by way of clever eastern philosophical riddles like for instance, “There there my child, a wanderer can only find truth once they have traveled a great distance.” Then my child would look at me, confused, too confused in fact to respond, but then, as a young adult -- after the first major disappointment in her life -- my child would come back to me illuminated, “Mother! You were right. Now I see what you were trying to teach me all along. You are so wise!” Then I would smile a knowing smile, and that would be that. I would be right, and there wouldn’t be any arguing the fact. Instead, most every day since getting into the business of mothering these two adorable offspring, the familiar voice in my head reminds me, “But Maya, you ain’t got no wisdom.” And then I skulk about plotting more realistic methods of mothering; none of which seem to be working.
Perhaps threatening isn’t the right approach. Maybe the way to break a horse is sticking to whatever punishment I’ve hacked-up and take the etch-a-sketch out of the picture entirely. Or, maybe threats and punishments are altogether wrong? I haven’t tried horse whispering – could it be that this horse responds better when coaxed with a few sugar cubes? All I know is that I’m tired. I’m tired of the battles. Where the hell is Gandalf when you need him?
On a happier note, I’m back from vacation (I know, what a subject change). I’ll share images from our trip later this week.