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Attila the Hun made a showing this weekend, but Father's Day was miraculously pleasant

Miss Know It All's picture

FDH's birthday falls two days shy of Father's Day this year, which resulted in a protracted three days of ass-kissing. I spent his actual birthday cleaning his house (which I *never* do) so that he could throw his birthday party without much fuss on Saturday. Turned out there was a bit of fuss because FSD3 chose Saturday to turn into Attila the Hun.

Part of it is her age -- she's boundary-pushing. She's VERY verbal these days. She's currently an only child and has just begun to realize that if she says something is one way ("The sky is purple!"), VERY few adults will fight her on it because "it's cute." Unfortunately, this also extends to bedtime ("I don't WANT to go to bed") and in his present state, FDH was simply unwilling to do the right thing and contradict her.

So she stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG Friday night and had to be taken to gymnastics at 8am the following morning. The she accompanied FDH on trips to the grocery store and preparing for the party. She would not take a nap and could not be persuaded to at least have some quiet time in her room with a movie and some toys.

She. Was. A. Monster. Always fighting, always demanding, screaming 1/3 of the time -- and FDH, who's mindful of "being on the same page" with her took me aside and said, "Listen, I know she's being a jerk and I've been really tempted to spank her a few times [he's NEVER spanked], but I really, really want her to be a part of my birthday party and if we put her in timeout today, it'll take up the ENTIRE party convincing her to stay there and she will have learned nothing. Let's just wait her out -- she has to pass out eventually."

It took 7 hours for him to be right. Seven. Freaking. Hours. Of screaming, fighting, crying, being cute, being mean, monopolizing individual guests (her aunt or uncle) for hours at a time to play dress up, etc. On three occasions, she would've gotten a timeout from me (first for directly defying her father when he told her not to do something, second for throwing something when she didn't get her way, and a third time for being rude to a guest and telling him he had to eat outside). FSIL, however, is the definition of grace under fire and she was able to re-direct each instance to a magical apology and correction. Thank God. Else Attila might've burned down the house as her next trick. I DID threaten a timeout once when she defied ME directly, but she straightened up right quick because she knows Miss Know It All don't fuck around with timeouts.

I traded off with an uncle and with FSIL in shifts to keep FSD3 entertained. I think FDH knew he was being selfish in "making her a part of the party" -- but, hey, you only turn 30 once and 29 was easily the worst year of his life with the divorce and all. So we indulged him by watching his kid act like an asshole. Couldn't think of a better present for a single parent.

Finally, at 11pm, I convinced FSD3 to practice karate with me. I figured that she'd either hurt herself and then hysterically cry until she passed out (this has worked before), or she'd get stupid-tired, sit down and not get up for 12 ours. Turned out to be the latter.

We got the guests home and we got into bed at, like, 4am. At about noon the next day, I got up (because, I guess, I'm running for Sainthood or something) and did the dishes and made pancakes. FSD3 got up, but her rational self had returned and she gave me no trouble. She even made herself useful to me in the kitchen and was able to carry a platter of pancakes to Daddy in bed with a well-pronounced, "Happy Father's Day, Daddy!"

I'm thinking Mission Accomplished and I start preparing to go home. Just as FSD3 sees me preparing my things, Attila the Hun begins to make a comeback -- yelling for juice and insisting that it's NOT Father's Day, it's ACTUALLY FSD3's BIRTHDAY and those are HER pancakes.

I snapped. Took her into her room by her arm and very sternly explained that she was being a monster. YES, A MONSTER.

FSD3: I NOT a monster!
Me: Then why are you being so mean to your dad?
FSD3: I don't LIKE Daddy.
Me: Liar. You sat in his lap. You kissed him. You want to play with him and go to the park today. You love him.
FSD3: *scowls*
Me: Listen. I know you are frustrated. I know that you're mad you have to keep taking medicine [UTI - see previous blogs]. And that Daddy won't let you sleep in the living room anymore. But we talked about this -- you only get ONE birthday a year. And Daddies and Mommies only get ONE extra special day a year. On those days, you and me have to be POLITE to them. We have to be NICE and help out around the house and NOT ARGUE with them even if they ARE wrong.
FSD3: Really?
Me: Yes, really. My birthday is in two weeks. And if on my birthday, I say the sky is purple, you have to agree with me.
FSD3: The sky is BLUE.
Me: Today it is. Unless your father says it's not. You know why?
FSD3: ... Because it's Father's Day...?
Me: That's RIGHT.

I probably set a bad precedent. But who cares? I got to go home after that and FDH had his revenge on Attila by taking her HIKING. I can only imagine she dehydrated herself with all the crying -- but the joke is probably on him. She's proven she can go 20+ hours without sleep; what are the odds Attila ruled the house last night and will burn down daycare today?

Thank God it's BM's turn tonight.


MamaBecky's picture

I think your primary problem is the child is allowed to decide when it will sleep or nap. Her behavior although not perfect would certainly not have been as bad if she were properly rested.

Parenting means requiring kids to do as they need not as they want.

If she is this way at 3, you are in for a world of hurt once she gets to 5, 6, and beyond.

Miss Know It All's picture

I'm getting pretty sick of the bedtime fail as well. I've noticed that it's gotten bad only in the last two months -- which is the exact amount of time FDH claims he's been depressed (and he does have actual depression issues, not some habit of referring to every bad situation as "I'm just depressed"). I've asked him to seek counseling and he's said he can't afford. I've said that I will give him 4 more weeks of "being depressed" and then I'm taking him to a couple's counselor that I pay for because I simply don't know how to be in a relationship with a man too depressed to parent. I figure getting him in front of a counselor by any means necessary is justifiable. In the meantime, I'm hanging up when he calls and she's NOT in bed. And I'm leaving the house if she's permitted to sleep in the living room. This seems to have forced FDH to step on the nights when we have contact -- but we don't live together and I do NOT want our relationship to be about ME telling HIM how to parent.