Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dethroning the Drama Queen

Narissa: Don't you think you're being a bit melodramatic? 

Prince Edward: I don't know what melodramatic means, but you'll be removed from the throne, Narissa, I swear it.

Sleepy Dog went missing today. Loyal Scraps of Soul followers might remember Sleepy Dog as the little flax-seed stuffed eye pillow that went into the swan pond in the Santa Barbara zoo two summers ago. Because Livie was extremely attached to him, S.D. was rescued by fearless Mommy, who was almost pecked by a vicious black swan, and who then went home and replaced all of the damp flax-seed stuffing. 

Since she realized he was gone, Livie has been very sad, shuffling around moaning that Sleepy Dog is her very favorite animal and now he is lost. It has been taking the very best of my will power not to say something scathing like, "If it's that special to you, maybe you should not have lost it," or "If you haven't seen it in a month, it can't be your very favorite." I've learned from experience that uttering such statements never improve the situation. Some moms might call it a "teachable moment," but in my case, it would just become a melodramatic moment. 

Melodrama is the word of the week around here. Not that anyone knows what it means (just like the dim but handsome prince in Disney's Enchanted, quoted above). Both my daughters are riding some unseen emotional wave that's making the 45 minutes before breakfast look, feel and sound like a week on "Days of Our Lives."  This is either the best day ever, or the end of the world as we know it. And it changes every 20 minutes or so. With my eldest, she's just going through some kind of emotional transition (its not manipulative, she's just upset a lot). With my youngest, she's testing her power in our household.

Needless to say, Mommy is exhausted and Daddy is mystified. My next door neighbor, whose kids have moved out and whom I asked today if I could come and live with, is laughing at me and telling me to just wait for the teenage years.

As I've been writing this, Liv suddenly remembered that she gave Sleepy Dog to her little girlfriend Alana. I suddenly remembered she was right. It was at least a month ago, and Liv hasn't thought about it since. So I texted Alana's mommy to see if S.D. is indeed in their possession. Here's our correspondence: 

Me: Hi. Sorry about yesterday [I had to abruptly hang up on Friend yesterday, probably because of melodrama.] I'm not calling right now because kids are in upheaval over here. Did Livie loan Alana her Sleepy Dog? Yet another of our treasured possessions is missing. 

Friend: Ha ha. Yes, actually she gave it to Alana. Lol. Livie wanted to give it to her because she used to not let Alana play with it, so now she wanted to give it to her. It was a few months ago. Does she want it back? 

Me: Yes but I don't know what to do. Help me, wise mommy!

Friend: Hehe. Well, it depends, if you want to teach her a really hard but important lesson. If not, I'm sure I can talk to Alana and we won't judge. 

Two thoughts are predominant right now. Number One: Friend is a keeper. Number Two: I do want to teach Livie a hard but important lesson. I just don't want to do it right now.

If you don't have children, let me tell you why so many children whine and act bratty. It's because whining is really really annoying, and so it works. Melodrama works too. It is very hard to stand your ground on issues big or small when you know your child will take it like the end of the world is coming. It's not even that I feel sorry for her. I know much of it is contrived. I feel sorry for me. I'm the one who has to listen to it. 

The Drama Queens must be dethroned. Particularly the youngest one. And as far as I can see, it's my job to take them down. 

So pray for me, friends, because it's a big job. Here are my hopes for my daughters: 

In place of drama, let there be self-control. 
In place of selfishness, let there be generosity.
In place of envy, let there be gratitude.
In place of manipulation, let there be honest communication and kindness. 
In place of upheaval, let there be peace. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to teach a hard lesson. 

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