Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Grad Party/Father's Day...

This weekend we celebrated my niece's high school graduation and Father's Day, but I'm pretty sure Riley's future therapist will come to know this as the weekend we denied her cake. It was pretty traumatic. 

Not to brag, but pretty much since Riley turned four she's been great. For the most part she listens to what we tell her, she's funny, she's well behaved in public and at home, she's polite... she hasn't been perfect, but it's been great overall. I remember my OB/GYN once telling me "just wait until your daughter turns four. They really aim to please at that age." And she was right! That is until a couple weeks ago when miss sassy pants decided to take over our child.

I'm not sure what happened, but Riley decided she no longer needed to listen to us and that she could sass and not back down. And on top of that, she could throw some epic fits.

I want my four year old gem back - the one that makes me feel like I actually have been doing this parenting thing right, not the one that makes me feel confused and angry... and mean. When your four year old decides that she's boss, you have to lay down the law and that's not always fun.

It actually reminds me of when I was a kid. My dad always tells me what a good kid I was, but I distinctly remember screaming at the top of my lungs when sent to bed early for not eating my dinner. We were a big 'eat all your food' household growing up so if I didn't want to eat my food I was sent to my room. I thought that if I just screamed louder I would show my dad that I meant business and he would let me out of my room. It never worked. Ever.

I was sharing my situation with a brother in law on Sunday and he so sympathetically said "payback is a bitch". I suppose it is, but I think of this differently... I sort of get what she's doing. I wish I could change it and help her understand that her behavior isn't going to get her the results she wants. But I get it - I did it too. Being four can be confusing.

Jesse and I are trying to stand our ground, but also have conversations with her about her behavior - what's good, what's not - so she (hopefully) will understand and change her behavior.

It's not all bad. She's still mostly a sweetheart. Just yesterday she yelled for me from the other room just to tell me she loved me and today she was all "thank you" to this and "thank you" to that, but I CANNOT wait for this to pass. Please tell me it's going to pass. It is, isn't it?

At any rate, on Saturday we went to JoLynn's graduation party. My brother, John, and his wife, Jodi, always know how to throw a good party and this was no exception. It started at 2:00 in the afternoon and apparently went into the wee hours of the morning. Ha. I made it until about 5:00 pm. Even if I didn't have a fussy kid I would have never made it that late. Some people are better at partying than others. I would not be included in that group.

JoLynn contemplating her future

Before we left for the party I told Riley she could have a treat when we were there. As soon as we arrived, she spotted the M&M's on the table so I let her have some of those. From there we explained that she needed to eat some real food and then could go play a game with my nephew's daughter who is her age.

Eating was a bit of a struggle, but she got through it and selected another treat other than cake to snack on afterwards. We then tried to get her to play with some of the other kids as they were running around with pinwheels, but she didn't seem to be into it. Later, I discovered that she wanted to play the game that we had mentioned earlier and was bummed that Emmalina was playing with the other kids.

Riley started asking for cake and would not accept that we said 'no'. We tried to explain to her that she already had a lot of treats, but she wasn't having it. After we both tried to reason with her, and she continued to whine about it, I finally took her off to the side to have a quiet moment and regroup. She's usually good about this, but instead she started kicking the deck and not calming down at all.

There was a moment when I put her in a chair by herself and she started crying hardcore. I looked down into the crowd to see a bunch of sad faces looking up at us. Just ignore us... please. Eventually, we got Riley to chill. She ran into the driveway and danced and sang and all seemed right with the world again.

Then Riley walked past the cake table again and meltdown mode started all over again. This time she added that she wanted to go home. Oh, I should also mentioned that before we left for the party I discovered that my rental property had been broken into the night before and a couple bikes stolen. Apparently, the thieves couldn't get in through the door so they cut a hole into the large fiberglass garage door. Son of a... It was at this time of the party that I was trying to talk with my renter on the phone about the whole ordeal.

Spider Rocky

Riley did eventually calm down and we decided we better go before pushing our luck with her when she totally freaked out about leaving. "I WANT TO STAAAAAAYYYY". WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH. Yeah, that was lots of fun. 

But seriously, the party was good. I got to see some family that I haven't seen in awhile and my dad got to see an old co-worker of his as well. Good times. Really.

On Sunday, we went to my sister's house for Father's Day. For the last couple years we celebrated Father's Day at my house the day before Father's Day (and it always rains). Since this year JoLynn's party fell on that day I decided to not plan anything, but my sister, Judy, decided sort of last minute to have people over. It started out as a rainy day (where we discovered our living room roof leak is back and determined that we really need to have it fixed), but the sun came out and the rest of the day was beautiful.

In the morning Riley made oatmeal for Jesse, presented him with a card and a video we made (much like we did last year). Our plan was for Riley and I to head to my sister's where my dad would be and Jesse would go to his mom's to see his step-dad, but we had some rough moments this day and decided that one of us would stay home so Riley wouldn't have to skip her nap. Jesse offered to be the one to stay behind so I could go to Judy's.

But before I left, Jesse ran out to pick up a 'sandwich' only to come back with some frozen yogurt for all of us. What a great guy.

At Judy's we mostly sat outside, played bags (I can't stand the name 'corn hole', so I call it bags), ate food, and overheated since we were all dressed for much cooler weather. 

When my sister originally called to invite us over she asked what I would want to bring food wise. I mentioned an orzo/tomato/asparagus dish and she mentioned that she was open to something different, but seemed to have a little uncertainty in her voice. Turns out it was a big hit and I was asked for the recipe from multiple people. Wish I could take full credit for it, but I have A Big Mouthful to thank for the recipe.  It's just a nice light summer dish and I totally recommend making it.

It was nice to be out and not have to worry about my fussy child, but it was time to get back. I gave my dad some chili and some jam and headed home to spend the rest of the beautiful day with my hubby and kid. Jesse seemed a little beat, but Riley was in a good mood and practically plowed me over with a hug.

Later on, after going upstairs for about the 5th time after Riley was in bed, she had a huge fit about me turning out her light (it was 9:20). She thrashed around on her bed for a bit while crying before finally stopping and telling me that she wanted to be the one to turn off her light. It sucked that she threw a fit, but glad that she's starting to use her words again to express herself. Let's hope this is a short lived phase and I will have my non sassy kid back soon.

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