Monday, October 24, 2011

Occupy My Living Room

My daughter has been sick for about a week and a half now.  It started with a virus that caused a cough and a fever, and turned into walking pneumonia (even with three visits to the doctor).  I haven't gotten much sleep because I have been getting up to check on her every couple of hours.  The doctor gave her antibiotics and a nebulizer to treat the pneumonia.

She has never been good at taking medicine.  When she was a toddler she would run around the house screaming as soon as she saw me break out the medicine bottle.  If I caught her, I would have to squirt the medicine into her cheek and put my hand over her mouth because she would spit it right back in my face.  Nothing has changed in the medicine realm except now she's quicker and louder.  Thank god her brother takes cough syrup like it’s a shot of tequila and moves on.  Although, after seeing him take medicine, I'm not letting him go away to college.

My little angel is one of those kids who will eventually rule the world and she's starting with my household.  She wants to overthrow my government and create a totalitarian dictatorship in which she is in charge. She's only in 5th grade so her teachers have not taught her that with this type of government there will eventually be social unrest and rebellion.  She is fighting me every day for the supreme rule of the family when all I really want is for her to pick up her socks and butter her own noodles. Besides her lack of political education, she is 11 years old so she is operating in a state of hormone-induced perpetual unreasonableness.

She had been taking her meds for a few days by the time Saturday rolled around.  I could tell she was feeling better because she spent the morning following my son around the house, telling him he was cleaning “wrong”.  She obviously is going to make a phenomenal wife someday but she's kind of a pain in the ass to have as a sister.  Then instead of joining in on the cleaning she decided to throw all of her bedding and stuffed animals on the floor.  I walked into her room and said, and I quote, "Pray tell, what are you doing, dear, sweet child of mine?"  She stated that she wanted ME to stop doing my homework and immediately put her new sheets on her bed.  She claimed that even though she had the physical stamina to throw all her things on the floor (of her own accord), she was suddenly unable to put sheets back on her bed and she needed me to do it NOW.  After about fifteen minutes of nagging I caved in due to sheer exhaustion. I went in to her bedroom and started putting her sheets on her bed.  My brain broke in half when she sat on the floor and told me I wasn't doing it right, so I stomped out of the room.

A little while later it was time to take her medicine.  I poured her antibiotic, scooped an ice cream chaser into a bowl and set it on the counter.  I started doing the dishes and asked her to come take it.

She sat down on the couch instead and said, "I want you to bring it over here and feed me the ice cream, I can't hold the medicine and spoon at the same time."

"Honey, you have two hands, that doesn't even make sense.  Plus, I'm busy.  You can do this yourself.  Please come get your medicine."

"NO!  I WANT YOU TO DO IT!" she whine-screamed.

So instead of doing the smart thing and giving in because she was sick and not completely herself, I did the worst thing I could have done at 9:00 on a Saturday night.  I decided to rise up against her oppressive regime.  I said, "No.” She started yelling and crying and insisting that I feed her the ice cream once she took the medicine.  I said no again, and told her she needed to take her medicine and then pick up her bedding off the floor.  After she screamed at me, hit me, and flailed on the floor for a trillion minutes, I gave up.  Sort of.  I told her I was going to quit school and my “dreams” of being an accountant, and devote all my time to picking up after her, brushing her teeth for her, serving her, etc.  I fed her the ice cream and told her she had won.  She could have total control over me and her brother.  I stood by the couch for an hour and asked her what she needed every two minutes even though she kept begging me to stop it and sit down.  She finally fell asleep.  I stayed up ridiculously late to finish my homework after wasting hours arguing with her.

I woke up the next day with a migraine and a feeling of parental failure.  The kids clearly decided they had finally pushed me over the edge into a chasm of insanity. My daughter apologized profusely.  Both kids did their homework and picked up their toys with no complaints.  Sooooo…I won then?

p.s. If you try to give me parenting advice after reading this, and you do not, nor have you ever had a pre-teen daughter with pneumonia that reverted her temporarily (hopefully) into a gigantic toddler, I will hunt you down and make sure you spend your last moments on this earth in agonizing pain. If you would like to share your own frustrating parenting stories I welcome you with open arms and a shot of Baileys for your coffee.