I had an incident with Cat earlier this week that really made me realize how strong willed of a child she is. We were getting close to the time we have to leave on Tuesday morning and she was taking for ever to get ready so I told her if she didn't have her snow suit on by the time I got back in the room I was going to do it for her.
Of course, she didn't put it on, so I put it on for her which elicited a meltdown, but it was time to go so I put on her boots and off we went down the street...with Cat screaming like I am trying to murder her. Every time she paused to take a breath it was:
"We have to go back, I need to do it myself."
Me: "I gave you a chance to do it yourself, you didn't. If we go back we will miss the bus, your brother will miss his school bus, I will be late for work and get fired and you guys will starve to death."
(yes, I actually tell my kids that they will starve to death if I get fired. Yes I understand that this is all sorts of bad parenting.)
Cat: "BUT I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF"
Me: "Too bad"
We get to the bus stop just as the bus gets there and she is still screaming her tiny little head off, only now there are tears as well. I actually feel like a giant ass. Which is, of course, what she is going for. Ace, quite smartly ducks into a seat before he can get stuck sitting next to the tantrum machine.
Bus driver: "What's up with her this morning?" (he's still pretty new to the route, he's never experienced her having a meltdown before)
Lady we see everyday: "Didn't have time to grab a toy?"
Me: "Snow suit."
She nods in sympathy and I wrangle Cat into a seat where she proceeds to howl and mutter about how she wants to go home for two stops before she hatches an idea in her little mind. She goes quiet and starts peeling off her boots.
Me: "Put those back on, we're getting off at the next stop."
Cat: "No. I want to do it myself."
Me (stuffing one boot back on): "I said leave them on!"
Cat: "NO!" (starts to cry again)
I shove the other boot and her bag at Ace and scoop her up as it is now our stop. We get off the bus and she immediately starts screaming to get down. I plop her down on a bench as I need to put her other boot on anyways and I turn to grab it from Ace. (not even one second!) She the other boot off and has unzipped her jacket.
Me: "What are you doing?"
Cat: "I am doing it myself."
Me: "...Buddy, go to daycare."
She took her entire snow suit off, right there on the side of the road, in the freezing cold and put it back on. And then she skipped off to daycare all smiles and sunshine like nothing ever happened. While I just looked at her and shook my head, because really? The whole situation lead me to think about how the experience of having a daughter was different from how I thought it would be.
Before I had kids I had this beautiful fantasy about what it would be like, I would have a daughter and she would be quiet, sweet and shy. I would be able to dress her up in cute little clothes and she would like the things I like and we would have tons of fun.
Then Miss Cat finally came along and I thought "oh here's my chance'. I took up new crafts so I could make her pretty things, hair bows and tutus and all sorts of stuff. Then the not sleeping started...then the little personality emerged...some of my fantasy changed. (about the time she painted her legs with red nail polish, out of my eye site for 5 minutes, 5 MINUTES!) Now I dream about the day when I can not panic about what she may have gotten into when she has been out of my eye site for longer than three seconds and Ace isn't with her.
Don't get me wrong, I think my spirited little daughter is awesome. We share many things in common, a love of Doctor Who, My Little Pony and zombies. I adore that loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer and reading. I love that she will rock a tutu and dragon tail while wondering the city. (and randomly roar at people)
I think it will be a