Well, as it turns out, that little slice of perfection may be the new playground bully. She's been pushing and slapping other children at school. Apparently, some poor, unsuspecting baby was minding her own business on the playground today when she was blindsided by my daughter. (Insert wide-eyed, rapid eyelash fluter.) Sadly, this is only one of three incidents from the past two days.
This is SO out of character for the Maddie Bear, who has been nothing but a ball of cuddles and kisses since she was born, that I got really upset after talking to her teacher today.
Who is this baby? And what has she done with my sweet baby girl?
The whole drive home I kept thinking about what I could have done wrong to cause Madeline to act out. Do I not pay enough attention to her? Do I pay too much attention to her? Are we disciplining her in all the wrong ways? Did she learn this from someone else pushing her? And if so, how come I wasn't there to protect her? Is this all because I let her listen to Kanye West in the car?
Then I thought of all the times I've had to call a parent over something a student did, and all I could imagine were years of teacher conferences and meetings with guidance counsellors ahead of me trying to figure out what I did to turn my daughter into a bad apple. In my daydream, I'm sitting on a thirty-year-old office chair sobbing, "I don't know what happened?! She was such a nice baby...I've tried EVERYTHING!" into her report card.
And what if she turns into a complete criminal, and the next thing I know she's like one of the teenagers I see being escorted in handcuffs out of Target for stealing a can of hairspray that she was planning on huffing behind the Market Basket down the street?!
Sigh. Good God, there's a lot of pressure as a parent!!!
The worst part is that I want to be able to try to fix the situation, but I have no idea how. There are no other children in our house for her to whack, therefore I can't tell her to stop doing it. I debated bringing her to the mall and waiting for her to whack a stranger's kid so I could intercede and tell her no, but that could get real ugly real fast.
And how do you explain all this to a one-year-old? Whenever we tell her to NOT spill her milk on the floor, she does so immediately because all she hears is, "Spill. Milk. Floor," which sounds like an awesome idea to her! So if I say, "Don't hit your friends, it's not nice," will she hear, "Hit. Friends. Nice," instead?
I teach her to be nice to her baby dolls. When she threw Amy across the car as I was strapping her in this afternoon, I told her that she needed to be gentle and nice to her baby. Madeline showered Amy with kisses after that, which made me feel a tad bit better. But is teaching her how to be nice to a plastic doll really going to translate to real life when all that stands between Madeline and the swing set is a baby she could simply shove out of the way?
I guess what I'm saying is....I have no idea how to raise a child, and I can't believe they let me leave the hospital with one.
Psssh, doctors. (Insert eye roll.)
Any advice from season mothers would be appreciated.
Dear God, look, she's already trying to steal my car AND my coffee. We're doomed.