Things I Never Thought I’d Say to My Daughter

You know how they say we all turn into our parents eventually? Well, yeah. That’s me right about now. I’m not talking about wearing jeans with an elastic waist band or a crocheted cardigan or getting tri-focals and complaining about that darned small print on everything as I lift my chin toward the ceiling while trying to read from the bottom half of my glasses.

I’m talking about some of the nonsense that’s been coming out of my mouth lately. I swore I would never ever tell my kid stupid myths so I did not even bother with the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus (my parents did try that noise but the Diva figured it out right quick when she discovered her bicycle just *chilling* in my sister’s shower last Christmas). She’s not an idiot and I’m not a liar. So instead of telling her her teeth will rot out of her head if she doesn’t brush, I threaten her with zero more gummi bears if she doesn’t brush.

Actually, I shouldn’t use the word threaten because I don’t do much of that. I’m all about “laying down the law” and using those dreaded mom phrases like “because I said so” and “you’re going to do it and like it” and “someday you’ll thank me for this.” Jesus, instead of a liar, I have become an ueber-annoying mom, one of those smirking, smart-alecky know-it-all Moms whose smugness makes their teenagers just want to punch them.

At the same time, I’m also one of those dreaded European extra-casual parents that non-parents, especially of the Anglo-Saxon variety, seem to hate. You know, the kind who would walk away from her irrational, tantruming child, not bothered at all by the shrieking that everyone else in the store is running away from. Because really, what’s the point of trying to rationalize to a 4-year-old Diva in Training whose breakfast and lunch consisted of pepperoni pizza and ice cream and who’s just spent the last four hours running through a germ-infested ball pit that your decision to not buy the glitter fuschia headband does not equate the end of the world? Ain’t nothing going to calm that over-tired, sugar-crashing little girl down except for me to buy the glitter fuschia headband and that’s the kind of behavior Amis are all about condoning, which is what’s led to the culture of narcissists over there and though my Diva may have good reason to be staring at herself in the mirror, that kid is not going to be an adult brat screaming to get her own way like all those ninnies on reality tv. Instead, she’s going to be the toddler pounding her fists on the floor of the druggery just to piss all you childless folks off so she can learn that she doesn’t always get her own way.

And this, folks, is precisely why I’m at the edge of a nervous breakdown as I write this. Because four-year-olds do not like to not get their own way. And because the way that a four-year-old wants the world to work is absurd to say the least. Seen the Reasons My Son Is Crying Tumblr lately? You know, where the kids pitch fits because of stupid shit like their socks don’t come off quickly enough? Well, Diva’s been pitching a whole lot of fits lately. About having to wear a sweater in near-freezing temperatures. About not being able to wear her ballet shoes to the playground. About the bottle cap not coming off fast enough. She has, also, I confess, picked up on the appropriate use of the word fuck and has told me, when I’ve tried to correct her, that “Oh no” is not a proper substitute because it’s not strong enough to express her very real anger. Fuck.

As much as I wanted to be one of those hippy-dippy parents who let her kid choose what she wanted to do with her life and be accepting of those choices, I find myself really having to work hard to steer this kid toward the direction of oh, say, sanity. I admit: I have let the princess outside in her polyester gown with bustle. I have let her wear a damned crown to kindergarten every single day for a month, provided she share her crown with whomever happened to have a birthday that day. But sometimes, I have to draw the line, and this week, I found myself saying the following without even cringing:

– You can’t go out of the house looking like that. Your belly is showing.

– Please don’t wear your high heels on the sofa.

– That skirt is too short.

– Go wash that make-up off right now, young lady.

She’s not even a teenager yet, and I already sound like I’m ancient. Lord help us all when the day finally arrives that these are legitimate concerns and not just attempts at instilling some decency in the kid. For now, people still think it’s cute that she has plastic high heels with pink bows on them and that she likes to steal my black eye shadow and smear it on her forehead and so my cringe-worthy statements are more like commands given in the hopes that her inner voice develops with a bit of decency in mind. But when she’s a pre-teen and that cuteness threshold has hit its peak and she still feels like heading out the door in a dress a size too small? Eek. Save us all.

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