Last Friday, Ayva and I had a bad morning. Instead of getting dressed for school, she was fooling around, taking her time, and blatantly ignoring Terrence and me when we gave her directions. Yeah, I know this is typical of kids, but we had just had a talk about staying focused in the morning and had even given her some tools to help her to remember to stay on task in the morning.
Neither of those things worked.
I had things that I needed to get done that morning, deadlines that I don’t normally have but needed to take care of that day. I can totally admit that I was on edge and more pushy than normal. After about 20 minutes of inactivity from Ayva, I started yelling.
AYVA! GET. DRESSED. NOW. BRUSH. YOUR. TEETH. NOW!
She jumped and finally started hustling. I went into her room and talked about how exhausted I was from having to tell her things over and over again. I told her that we wouldn’t have time to do a special project that we had planned because we were running late and that I would have to do it on my own. I went back to my room to finish getting dressed, and Ayva wrote me a note apologizing for not listening and asking if we could please do the project. Naturally I said yes and told her that if she went and brushed her teeth, we would still have time to do the project.
After she stood and looked in the mirror for 6 minutes without running the water, I told her that we had officially run out of time. We left out for school and I cried on the way while I told her that I didn’t understand why she wasn’t able to focus, and she did what she wanted to do even when we asked her, begged her, to do things. We’ve tried everything to get her to listen, but it doesn’t seem to be working. If she wasn’t so obedient EVERY OTHER PLACE SHE GOES, I wouldn’t be so hard on her. But she is, so I am.
Once we got close to her school, I really laid it on heavy, telling her, “You know, Ayva, Daddy and I love you very much and would do anything for you. We are always trying to find ways to make life happy for you. You don’t listen to us, but you listen to everyone else. You listen to your friends, and your teachers, but we’re the ones who are going to always be here to take care of you. Do you think we should ask your friends or your teachers to give you a birthday party?” At that point we were at school and she got out of the car in the drop off lane.
I drove off feeling exhausted and also empty. I know Ayva needs to learn how to listen, but the birthday party thing was a hard thing to say to a 1st grader. I turned the car around, went to find a park and headed to the blacktop to find Ayva. She smiled when she saw me, not sure why I was there, but happy to see me anyway. I gave her a big hug and kiss and reminded her that I would always love her no matter what, even when I get frustrated. I told her that I shouldn’t have told her that we should ask other people to give her a birthday party, because that’s what moms and dads are for and I was sorry that I said that.
Since then, things have been back to normal. She’s still not quite listening, and I’m still kind of yelling for every other directive in the mornings. We’re both working on it, though. We’re not perfect, neither one of us. I’ve started to remind myself that none of this is really that serious. If we’re a few minutes late or we don’t have time to brush her hair, it’s just not that serious.
One thing is certain. We’ll always love each other, even when we have a bad morning.