So what an afternoon we had this afternoon. When I picked my daughter up from school today, I knew she was tired and that it might be a rough next few hours. I readied myself for the ensuing battle, not between her and I, but between the me that wants to be patient, and the me that wants to verbally whip her into shape.
I insist she rest for a bit before our errands and she was fine. It was when I asked her to change out of her dress up clothes and into street clothes for our trip to the supermarket. You would have thought I'd asked her to walk on hot coals. Then when she didn't have time to pack her purse, she hit rock bottom.
She declared, "I just don't like myself!" I immediately went into calm mode as I envisioned the what kind of effect the next conversation might have. Kind of like when you're child is hurt, or bleeding, and you become that super serene version that while it takes nothing to muster up at the time, you can't fathom channeling that kind of composure if your own life depended on it.
Anyway, she then says to me (and please remember, she's 4!) "I just feel like being by myself. Like I want to go live in a house without any parents and just be all alone." I asked her, "you don't want to live with me and daddy anymore?"
Her reply, "Mom, I do. I want to live with you and daddy, but I'm four now, and I just think I need to be by myself. Kind of like how I like my long hair, but I want it cut short so it doesn't hurt when you brush out the tangles. But I know I can't do that, be all by myself and live with you so I just don't know what to do. I don't know what to do with my thoughts in my head and (snorts and sniffles) , and I think I wish I could just split me down the middle!"
I wanted to bust out laughing because here these deep, amazing thoughts coming out of my sweet little girls mouth, but I realize she's trying to articulate that she understands the boundaries that exist for her, but admitting her want to rise against them. I don't know what I'm going to do when she's a teenager.
Post Script...She was fine once we got to the store. Happy and laughing. I asked her later if she felt better now that she had a chance to get all those feelings out and she said, "Yeah. I just don't know about all the thoughts I think in my brain sometimes." I told her I was a kid once too and thought all those same thoughts...she thought that was "pretty cool."