How do you get on with someone you butt heads with? What if that person happens to be your eight year old child?
The one thing I keep asking myself is, do we get on, is it a clash of personalities? Do I expect too much of her being the eldest? Is it me?
I have been told that I am a hands-on dad and that I seem to have a great relationship with all five of my children. They have their moments where they drive me insane and make me want to rip what little hair I have left, however we do have fun and enjoy ourselves.
Even though, I seem to have constant arguments with my eldest child. When the game has going too far and I say stop, she seems to have to take it further.
Normal I hear you say.
Yes, because they all do until someone gets hurt or shouts.
She takes it further still.
Okay, I feel this is getting confusing or too vague.
Let’s take last night, for example.
My second child Immy, had a playdate at a friend’s house and it was time to pick her up. I took my eldest, Weef with me. We got to our friend’s house, Weef offered to get Immy but in the interim ended up on the trampoline playing. It took a while to round up two children and get home. What should take five minutes, with children always takes five times longer.
The youngest three were already in bed, asleep.
(And no, I didn’t leave them on their own, there was an adult present at the house to look after them)
Weef and Immy got told they had 45 minutes before bed, they had lots to do the next day (which was a Saturday) and needed a good night sleep and plenty of rest.
“Okay Daddy.” They smiled up at me.
The 45 minutes passed and I have them an extra five minutes just to be nice…
“Come on girls, it’s time for bed.”
The ‘no no no’ was starting, ‘five more minutes’… The usual stuff that happens when it’s bedtime.
Again, I explain to them what they had to do tomorrow and in a split second Immy stopped. Younger by sixteen months and I saw her brain ticking, weighing the situation and realise that it was better to stop if she wanted to go to the birthday parties over the weekend and bingo at scouts in the evening.
Weef seemed to have put earplugs in and decided that she was going to scream, stamp and call me selfish. She added other insults, like how uncaring I was and that no one loves her.
It can sound funny, especially when she went upstairs to brush her teeth and was looking at herself in the mirror, trying to push tears out,
I got her into bed and she wouldn’t stop this fit.
I forgot to mention that she shares her room with three of her other sisters.
She got warned that she wouldn’t get her nightly songs if she didn’t stop. There was no reasoning with her. The screaming and crying had turned into noise in my head. A sharp, shrill sound that was piercing my brain and the only thing I could do was to over to Immy, sing her some songs, gave her a kiss and cuddle.
When I went over to Weef, I asked her for the countless time to stop and to give me a kiss and cuddle before I went downstairs.
The noise that she was emitting became more persistent in trying to drill a deeper hole in my brain.
I was determined not to shout or argue, so I walked out.
She screamed and stamped so hard that she woke Zazy, my third.
I was going down the stairs and through the screams I heard “Weef, you scared me.” I ran up and in, my blood boiling at that point.
My partner was at work and her mother who was around ran up, she had managed to stay out of the situation, but that was the last straw.
She whipped her phone out of her pocket, and I’m not trying to find a fancy way of saying it, it was like a gun slinger drawing his gun, and called mum.
I was once more walking out, I wasn’t giving in.
To understand why it was so important for me to stay calm; my parents are from Mediterranean countries and have hot blood which I inherited through nurture and am trying very hard not to transmit it to my children. Not very successfully to be honest but I am making a massive effort. It’s easier for me to shout than to communicate in a calm and orderly fashion.
I heard Weef try to lie about me, making up things that I had said and done to her and that’s something I can’t abide. Anyone else listening would have considered calling social services.
I flew back into the room, the Arab/Italian temper flaring. The phone was ringing. Upon seeing me Weef stopped talking. Not because she was scared of me, on the contrary, she knows me too well to be afraid of me, she’s knows I’m a barker and not a biter.
She stopped talking because she knew she was lying and trying to get me into trouble. Her Nana picked up on this and at the same time, mum answered the phone.
I got motioned to walk out, which I did, begrudgingly.
Weef was allowed back downstairs to calm down and was trying to tell her Nana what an awful person I was.
Weef couldn’t sell her story and the truth came out in the end.
By that point there was a ringing in my ears and the adrenaline spike was so high I was rooted to the spot. Even after my daughter came to apologise to me, I was still rooted to the spot.
In my life, I have had my share of arguments, disagreements, fights, but no one has ever made me lose my temper the way my own daughter can. That’s why I put all those questions at the start and why I am writing this. Maybe by putting some episodes down I can find out the root cause of the problems I’m experiencing with her.
I love my daughter and have loved her from the moment she was born. She was scrawny, skinny, bald and long but to me, she was the most beautiful and wonderful thing that I’d ever seen.
I don’t want to feel that every time I’m with my daughter we have to fight. That is not what I saw when I first met her and it’s not what I feel now, but I do have that niggling feeling in the back of my mind that this might be how life for us will be from now on.