Today, my youngest child hurt my feelings, and I was not ready for it. I don’t believe this topic was covered in the ‘what to expect when you’re expecting’ handbook, or did I miss the chapter on ‘How To Be An Adult When Your Kids Hurt Your Feelings?’
For the past 10 days I have been working on fancy dress costumes for the girls. Their Catholic school celebrates Shrove Tuesday every year by having a fancy-dress day. Each year or class gets their own theme, and then the older years run a contest to determine a winner. For the younger kids (pre-school), it’s not supposed to be a big competition but it inevitably becomes on.
Competitive parents – need I say more? That’s a post for another day!
What’s The Theme?
The theme for the pre-school last year was Pyjamas – easy right. This year is was any Disney character or Superhero. Their logic being that most kids will have something along these lines already, and if not, it won’t take a huge amount of effort to come up with something simple.
Unfortunately the parents don’t get to wing it. The pressure is huge to come up with the perfect outfit for your little star! Some parents spend weeks and a small fortune on coming up with amazing ‘homemade’ outfits for their kids. It’s easy to get swept up in the competition.
Who Did They Go As?
My eldest wanted to wear her Elsa dress, but when we tried it on we realised it was about 20cm too short. So my youngest said she would wear it. Perfect. Sorted.
Then my eldest decided that she wanted to be a Disney Fairy, but not Tinkerbell … oh no! She wanted to be Rosetta!
Okay. *deep breaths*
I went to the sewing shop to buy the pattern but they didn’t have one so I had to come up with my own. I’m a very beginner seamstress so my skills are very limited!
Nevertheless, I think I did okay creating a petal skirt and a halter neck style top.
Once I started constructing the eldest’s outfit, the youngest decided she wanted mommy to make her an outfit too … also one of the fairies. I gently encouraged Silvermist because she wears a dress and not tights and shirts and all sorts of difficult things.
Fine. She pushed her luck a little by asking to be Rosetta also but I said no, you can’t be the same as your big sister. She seemed happy with Silvermist.
So I went back to the material shop, bought the fabric for her dress and set about constructing her outfit, complete with flowing chiffon (she is a Water Fairy).
Last night I took stock of my achievements and I was really quite proud. Two beautiful outfits, completely handmade with love, two seemingly satisfied children eagerly anticipating the next day’s excitement.
I even prepped them to make sure they were happy that I would send them to school in their normal clothes and then come later and dress them up for the parade. I made sure that they understood that their friends would most likely be dressed up already but they should wait so their satin and chiffon outfits weren’t destroyed by yoghurt and wooden climbing frames! *Can you feel my pain?*
They heard me, understood me, and were happy when I dropped them off.
Pride Comes Before A Fall!
I had a million things to do this morning but I got it done and got there 45 mins before the start to get them ready.
I took my youngest to get dressed first and as soon as I put her dress on her she threw an almighty tantrum. Screaming, kicking, pulling at the dress trying to rip it off herself. Her words
“It’s ridiculous! I look ridiculous! I’m not wearing this!”
I was horrified. Where had this come from? She’s THREE YEARS OLD!
Now under normal circumstances I’d have taken none of her nonsense, dressed her in the required outfit, and dragged her back to her classroom, whether she liked it or not.
I was so hurt. I could feel the tears welling up inside me, all because this child of mine (refer back to previous post on threenager) didn’t like the special outfit I had made for her.
Not only that, but I really was proud of it. I thought it was a stunning outfit, totally unique.
Also though, a slight sense of panic kicked in as I had no alternative for her, it was far too late to go back home and fetch the Elsa dress, which also added a layer of guilt to the mix. Why hadn’t I anticipated this and brought a back-up?
I was very hurt. I calmly helped her take it off. She wanted to wear the normal pink and grey (not blue) dress that she’d been wearing all day and her blue fairy wings. And that was that. No arguing, no fighting.
By that stage she got whatever she wanted because, quite frankly, after the day I’d had, this was the last thing I needed, wanted, or deserved. I had no fight left in me.
I Felt Broken
I quietly finished dressing her and she skipped off back to her class. I explained what had happened to her teacher who also tried to persuade her but to no avail. So I gave up.
I went to find my eldest, and dressed her up. She was so happy. So proud. So beautiful. It renewed a little of my self-esteem and happiness.
I left them there and headed for the pool where the parade was set to start. I sat by myself hiding my weepy eyes behind my sunglasses. Eventually a few other moms I know came to sit with me and the conversation changed so I was distracted from my personal wounds.
It Came and Went
The parade started, and my youngest trotted past me while I sat in the front row. She was grinning, smiling, waving. She was completely happy and excited, dressed in her old pink dress and blue fairy wings. What could I do but smile and wave and take pictures like all the other mommies. Like nothing was wrong.
Then came my eldest, waving hysterically at me, as beautiful as always.
And then it was over.
A week of work, stress, love and care going into this, and it was over in 15 minutes.
I collected them, we went to the shops, my eldest wore her outfit for half the afternoon too. My youngest didn’t even show one flick of remorse, or apology. She didn’t even give a sh*t that she had knowingly hurt my feelings. I know she’s 3, but she knows! The day continued on as per normal. Nothing to report.
She Hurt My Feelings
My job as a mom though is to brush it off … isn’t it? I mean, what’s the alternative? Continuously harp on about it? Rub it in her face? Hold it against her? No. I can’t do that. She’s 3. I’m 35! I should know better. I do know better.
Did I learn any lessons today? No, not really.
Will I make as much effort next time? Probably.
I have no doubt that she will wake up tomorrow like nothing happened. That’s ‘momlife’ for you.