Yesterday was a rough “parenting” day for me. I have found that the closer to the dreaded teen years we get the harder it is getting to relate to my 9 year old. She lives in a split up home and each home has a different set of rules and an even more different idea of what routine looks like. Here we have more kids, more structure and less time. It’s my downfall. I do not make it a priority to carve out time with her. That is something I need to change.
For Easter I got her a gift certificate to the local nail salon. I figured that since the money is spent that it would be really easy for me to make sure it is used. The gift certificate is enough for mommy and Riley pedicures. It is something we have done together before and she loved it. It just so happened that Logan was invited to his buddy’s daughter’s birthday party so it was a perfect opportunity to take Riley on a date. Five minutes before we were all loading into the car to leave she freaked out. Screaming at Logan and needing a major attitude adjustment. So right in that split second I slammed the van door shut and walked back into the house. We weren’t going. She ruined it and I was pissed.
She cried and begged and I yelled. There was no way I was going to reward her ridiculously poor behavior with what she wanted most. Me. I started cleaning up and doing dishes. She tried to help and told her to just stay out of my way. I was SO angry that her behavior made me miss out on time with her. I had to make the difficult decision to chose to make her see how her actions can and do effect other people. As I ranted and rambled on and on in my head it came to me. The best possible punishment…
Sushi. We were walking to the sushi place. Riley hates hates HATES sushi. We were going to walk down the street and talk and then have dinner together. I wanted to have time with her and there was no way I was going to let her take that from me. This way I got my time with her and she got time with me but on my terms. We walked half way there talking about why her actions were not ok. Logan picked up half way and drove us to the restaurant on the way to the party. As soon as we pulled up she instantly said “Ew I’m not going”. She had no choice. We were having our date dammit. We went in and I ordered sushi and she ordered pho. Then we talked. I told her that while her behavior caused us to lose out on doing something we would both really enjoy, I want her to know even when she is acting a fool, I still love her. I apologized for not making more time for her and I promised that from now on I will. It is clear now that what she needs most from me is me. Just me. Clearly taking that away would do much more harm then the lesson I would be trying to teach her. We had a great time. We talked about Riley. It was fun to reconnect and the sushi was so good. The pho was too actually. It was probably even better then getting our toes done. And now we have an excuse to sneak out, just me and her, again.