Tests

A week has passed since I last wrote and we are still in the honeymoon phase of hope that things will start getting better, although we are waiting waiting waiting which despite all of my practice I’m still no good at. It’s good that hope remains because the Monkeyface has fully engaged with a stage where mummy sucks and I don’t have the skill to adequately describe how painful it is.
Things are better in our lives, there is hope, but I hadn’t imagined feeling this despondent about our relationship before she became a teenager. She hits, she kicks, she headbutts, she bites. And just me.
Of course it’s hard not to feel that I left her with a childminder at 3, I’ve had some really dark days in this time that have probably impacted her, I don’t know her because I’m hardly with her and that it’s all my fault. It’s really easy to swing the other way too and feel aggrieved at the state of my face, figure, bank balance and home. But all of this is self indulgent and temporary (tell me it’s temporary!) and all of it is our choice, whether we like those choices or not. She will stop being frustrated and eventually so will I and I suspect that one thing will follow the other.
Perhaps this stage is good training for the shock of your children becoming adults and bearing no resemblance to the armfuls of love that so filled us up. God knows my mother went through that bootcamp so there’s no way I’ve a genetic get out of jail card for that. It’s also perhaps time I realised that parenthood at times like these is duty not pleasure and that my daughter is not a pet to fill the spaces within me.
With that in mind, I’m trying to be in control of my tone, my volume and how I touch her, to be the opposite of what’s raging inside of me when she gives me a stinging nose. It’s a thorough test of my scant self-control and my own adulthood.
So there’s been some omission of bedtime stories latterly. I did grab a copy of The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton as those tales of Moonface and the Faraway Tree were my favourite when I was young. I felt it would prop me up. We read a chapter and she wanted more, which made me happy. As soon as she stops hitting me in the face at bedtime, she’ll get some more.

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