I was thinking about this in the car earlier, that I'm so focused on the challenges of my little one and wanting to invest in her that I haven't taken the time to also say what a wonderful girl she is. A friend of mine cautioned me against calling her "the bad child" and I really don't, but I do think that sometimes my stress over her behavior makes her think that.
Several months ago, while she was in a self-pity phase, she decided I didn't love her (because she didn't get dessert), then proceeded to tell me everything I've ever done to make her feel unloved. The one thing that has stuck with me is that she noticed that when I get really frustrated with her, I sigh, and it hurts her feelings. I realized today in the car that I've been sighing a lot lately.
So have I been telling her that she's the bad child? In words, no. But my every sigh makes her think that I don't love her, and that bothers me. I need to learn a better way of expelling my frustration (and really, those deep breaths and long exhales do give me the strength for some of these rough moments) so that she doesn't feel like she's my problem child.
Yes, we are going through a really rough phase right now. But I love her, and I am committed to working through it and helping her grow through whatever this is. The good news is (and this is for all of you who keep telling me I beat myself up too much) that we have been talking to professionals, all of whom have said that we're doing the right things. I have to hold on to that hope, then take a deep breath (without sighing) and push through.
On good days, she makes me smile in ways no one else can. When she's in the right mood, she's a great cuddler. Sometimes, when all of her brain cylinders are firing right, I see glimpses of an amazing person. She is also incredibly intelligent, probably why this journey is so hard- she's too smart for her own good. Her laugh is one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard. I love her smile. There's a lot of good inside her, and I kind of hope that she becomes the kind of evil genius we see in Megamind. At some point, we'll take all those wonderful powers and qualities and channel them for good. Oops, I forgot to say, "code."