(originally published in April, 2013)
Spring Break can eat a bag of DICKS. Seriously. I…I had the worst damn week. I’m absolutely bereft over what this summer is going to be like.
My daughter. Oh my daughter. She is a good girl. Willing to please, loving, positive.
She is unbearable.
I think it’s my fault. The television. I put her on practically intravenous infusions of television at such a young age. It trained her to expect entertainment. Now don’t write and say, “That’s why I never let my kids watch more than one hour a week and ONLY PBS ner ner ner ner.” I KNOW. But I needed the television. I needed the breathing room it gave me; times were bad back then.
So now she is six, trapped in a sort of terror, a reverse solipsism. She’s afraid she does not exist unless I am looking at her. She has no fear of either of her parents, so she can’t read the signs of rising agitation and never knows when to tread lightly. She just cheerfully wheedles and digs and demands.
Mom? Mom? Mom? What are we going to do today? What can I play? What can I eat? Not an apple. I want chips. Mom look. Look at me. I have a shoe. Look how high I can throw this shoe. Mom? Mama? Are we going out? Tell me what I can do that’s fun.”
I have a huge yard ready to be played in. Dollhouses and books and art supplies and movies and GOD DAMMIT. Nothing appeased her. I arranged 3 play dates, a group trip to a creativity center, had Easter, went to a separate Easter party AND a girl scout party. But she was bottomless. Needing more, with not even a break. Not even a single moment when she sat down, picked up a toy, and played by herself.
I started an easy article on Tuesday. I JUST sent in the draft tonight. I couldn’t write with her hungry little face always seeking mine. By Friday I was, no other word for it, completely fucked up. My darling girl. I was beginning to feel deep and helpless anger toward her. I dreaded the sound of her tiny shouting voice, her ‘r’s still coming out as ‘w’s (we’re seeing someone about that next week). I felt like I’d been scooped out with a jagged spoon, torn and aching and empty.
On Saturday I picked a road and drove for hours, alone. Just for the silence. I took a tranquilizer when I knew it was time to go back.
I know the more I try to isolate, the harder she will seek me. I haven’t figured out how to make her needs and my needs co-exist yet.