“When She Was Good She Was Very, Very Good…

girl…and when she was bad she was horrid.” Do you remember the nursery rhyme ‘There Was a Little Girl’? I loved my Golden Books growing up so it still feels familiar to me. I may have accurately been told once or twice that I resembled that girl with the curl myself. And by the laws of the universe, it’s come back to bite me in the butt!

A few weeks ago saw the worst and the best in my girl with the curl. And if I’m honest, it also saw the worst in this grown up girl with the curl. If the big one hadn’t behaved like a twat, the little one wouldn’t have had perceived reason to behave like a bigger twat!

We’d gone to Woolworths one afternoon to get some things we really needed. Just as we got to the checkout the registers went down. I got the shits because as they gave the announcement, staff swarmed to guard the front of the store. Woolworths ‘much loved’ customers instantaneously became thieves that needed guarding. God forbid their ‘much loved’ customer are shown any good will. So anyway, I may or may not have ‘accidentally’ dropped the box of Up & Go on the carton of eggs. And then I may or may not have stormed out – and then gone to Coles. Jessie grabbed the keys and stormed off in the opposite direction to wait in the car.

I was chastised all the way home for my embarrassing behaviour and for humiliating her. When we got home I naturally went to my room to think about what I’d done, like the bad child I was. I also had my dozen eggs smashed in the sink and my two packets of biscuits crushed even though I wasn’t making a biscuit base for anything??!

Things spiralled, she completely snapped, I yelled and swore, and stupidly threw the packets of biscuits. They of course split and little biscuits pieces and crumbs of all sizes went EVERYWHERE. From the kitchen, over the dining table/computer desk, fanning out over the lounge room to the sliding glass door. So basically the entire living area. Some choice words may have been uttered at that mishap. I had to try a few as I just wasn’t finding the right one. You know when that happens? And you know who cleaned that up don’t you?

frustration_by_marmonicaI was feeling like we we’d gone backwards 5-6 years. Only Jessie’s now taller than me and weighs more than I do. It’s very confronting feeling that fight or flight reflex at any time, but especially with your child as they’re battling you for your phone so you can’t call help. But despite the unfair weight classing, being mum prevailed – kind of…Jessie decided to leave as I was on the phone to 000.

Police drove around and finally found her and brought her home. She’d obviously hit the peak and crashed and was very quiet and non-combative. The officer asked me about what happened, and then gave Jessie a bit of a talking to about her behaviour, how you should treat your mum and what she doesn’t have the right to do. Being two days off turning 16, he also told her that after 16 I don’t have to have her in my house. He did acknowledge how hard it is being a teenager which I believe Jessie needed to hear as well, because it is! She’s not a bad kid and our kids need to be told that as they’re learning.

What is was that clicked with her I don’t know, but something did. She’s been amazing since and has been doing jobs around the house voluntarily and really making an effort. I was so impressed by her a couple of weeks ago when I was sick after a cortisone injection and needed her to call the ambulance for me. I knew she was worried, however she was calm and mature talking with 000. She kicked into nurse mode and skilfully got me into my dressing gown as I couldn’t dress myself and had only knickers on. Her studies came in handy and seeing her confident and in action felt like a glimpse into her future, and I’m so proud of her.

I’m used to Jessie being angry and unforgiving when I’m not well, so this has been a welcome and celebrated growth in her. My elbow is finally able to heal because she’s stepped up I’ve been able to rest my arm. I’ve really appreciated the help around the house, particularly because I haven’t had to ask her to do a thing! She did all the washing while I was sick. She’s taking out the rubbish, washing up and feeding the cats, which all makes such a big difference for me. Not only am I loving the help around the house, I’m loving Jessie being out of her room more and spending more time together.

The girl with the curl…

She’s a quirky, intelligent, strong, passionate, funny and empathetic person sunny side up. And like us all, has a not so sunny side. For us all it’s a matter of managing our thoughts and emotions. Mental illness can affect our ability to do that, so the focus is best placed on the repair and moving forward. Jessie’s just smashed that and continues to do so. We’re on a pretty good track, so we’ll see where it takes us…

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