The Weekly Peanut, Issue 174
I sit here trying to write this issue barely 48 hours after an event that has shaken the foundations of my home. It is a struggle.
Challenges. This week has challenged me repeatedly as a parent.
My child is strong-willed. Some weeks she accepts lessons with a smile, but so often it feels that she will take nothing at face value and insist on a drag-out fight until the end. Every study tells you that as a parent you must choose your battles, and once you choose them, you must not back down.
What's the battle this week? Like so many others, it centers around food. Ian and I have recently put our feet down about only offering Daphne the same dinner that we are eating. We try to engage her in the preparation of the food, and it felt like we were finally making progress.
Two steps forward... Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday D had less than ideal behavior reports from school. Long talks. Discussions about responsibility and handling emotion. Much of D's frustration stems from people not "listening" to her when she tells them what to do (the irony, while lost on my child, is not lost on me). I tried to explain to Daphne that it's her responsibility to respect people like her parents and teachers when they respectfully request certain behavior from her. I told her that it is not her responsibility to tell her friends or classmates what to do. I told her that if she wants to tell someone what to do, she can boss around her toys. She looked me dead in the eyes and said, "But Mommy, dey don't say anything back." That, my child, is the whole point.
At last on Friday, D had a good day at school. She came home and chowed down on all her chicken, green beans, and mushrooms (the mushrooms were her favorite part). Saturday morning she watched us making avocado toast and loudly proclaimed that she wanted some, too.
She ate it all. We praised her for trying new things. We were all stir crazy, so we agreed we could reward D's efforts the past 24 hours at least (she'd had her Disney privileges revoked days before) with a family trip to D's first water park: Aquatica.
D was very well-behaved. She wore her float vests without protest. She loved the massive kids area (and was disappointed she wasn't tall enough to go down some of the taller slides, WTF height minimums on kid area slides??). We spent an extended amount of time on the lazy river, floating together. Taking turns letting D clutch to us like a little otter, alternating between shows of independence and giggling and holding tightly as we went through "rapids." Ian and I agreed the time together was much needed and deeply therapeutic. The storm clouds started looking ominous (and we'd heard horror stories about getting stuck in Aquatica's parking lot during mass exodus attempts), so we headed out relatively early.
We let D stop and watch the dolphins for a little while on the way out. She was quite entranced. I can't wait to take her back to Sea World. We stopped at the outlets on the way home.
D got into character to wear the Marie tail and hat. She's also obsessed with "Daphne-sized" purses. This little Dooney and Bourke was calling her name. Not for that kind of money, kid.
We stopped at Cask and Larder on the way home for the first time in ages. It was happy hour, so our purchases were confined to the bar menu. D wanted nothing to do with any of it (not surprised). On the way home we were extensively serenaded. I know I've mentioned before that D will go on these tears of endless singing of mostly nonsense. Please enjoy my stealthy recording of D's version of "The Farmer in the Dell" (sorry for the vertical video, it's the only way I could get this uninterrupted).
HI-HO THE DAIRY HOOOOOLE! O_O
Sunday. Sunday is hard to write about. I woke up, reached for my phone like always. Opened Facebook, and the first thing in my feed was a shooting. At first it's Deja Vu, since the morning before the Plaza theater had a shooting. Then the information reaches your brain in pieces: mass shooting, 20+ casualties, Pulse nightclub. It's a club I've been to. These shootings which seem to be becoming almost routine at this point hit so much harder when the reality is that I could know people who were there. But here I am. It's 7 am and I have to go to work. I put on my productive mother hat, and made a concerted effort to push through the day. Ian stayed home with D.
They had avocado toast again. This time D wanted to try it "spicy" like Daddy. They added paprika instead of habanero sauce. Ian texted me the update. Then he told me that Daphne had demanded they watch "the dinosaur movie" she saw posted on Netflix. Jurassic Park. The movie that had my ten-year-old self running out of the theater after the first T-Rex scene. I told Ian that if she came into our room in the middle of the night with nightmares, that he'd be on kid duty.
Yes, that's the Haunted Mansion bride doll. She's been fixated on it lately. On a break between tours I started watching the first press conference. It was in the construction mill that my knees gave out as Mayor Dyer announced the death toll was closer to 50 than 20; there was just no way that those lives wouldn't end up personally touching me and everyone I knew. Ian texted me that though Daphne had proclaimed some of the dinosaurs "scary," she had made it through the film and wanted to watch the second one, too.
I made it through the day in a fog. Some of my parent friends with older kids were sharing on facebook how they were handling the situation with their kids. My kid, the one who knows our sweet Doggy, Fiona, is dead, yet still proclaims she is her best friend that she will see soon, then alternates to say that she misses her... it is not time for her to deal with this. Shaken, I returned home to my family, and we went to pick up some dinner. "MOMMY!" D's favorite song, Shut UP and Dance with Me, is on the radio. "MOMMY! MOMMY WATCH THIS! TAKE A VIDEO MOMMY!" Daphne is dramatically lip-syncing every word.
"MOMMY I LIP SYNC FOR MY LIIIIIIIIIIFE!"
Yes, kiddo. You're giving me life, too.
Monday I had high hopes that we were past the crappiness of last week, but D refused to even taste the baked potato soup we'd made together for dinner. So much for that. The parenting battle rages on. And it's a distraction from the battle that continues to be waged in my heart and mind as I try to make sense of the damage to my home and the people who live here. I've watched my friends post touching remembrances to the people they've lost. Several students and coworkers are facing multiple losses. I'd encountered the young man who worked at Disney before on Main Street during one of our many visits to the parks. So much loss.
If you, like me, are feeling a bit restless without being able to help, HERE is the link to the official non profit that's been set up to take donations to help the victims and their families.
If you are feeling alone, know that you are not. Reach out to your community.