Sunday, January 20, 2013

Testing, testing...123!

When Raphaela was all of two days old, she showed a remarkable intelligence and awareness of how to manipulate the system.  I had just fed her and had dropped her off at the nursery in Hadassah Hospital, where she and the other 30 babies were meant to sleep for the night.

Fifteen minutes later, a frenzied call came over the loudspeaker: "Ms. Leeder, Ms. Leeder, come to the nursery immediately, your child is crying very loudly!"  When I arrived, the nurse scolded me, saying, "The child is obviously hungry."

I assured the nurse that I had just fed her, and that besides, two day old babies live off their post-birth fat so she couldn't be all that hungry.  In order to not wake up the other sleeping infants, they asked me to try to nurse.  I sat down in one of the comfy chairs, didn't even have the chance to pull up my shirt, and Raphaela fell asleep on my chest.

Lesson learned, crying gets Mommy, especially when the nurses want the rest of the children to sleep, and when Mommy is so new at the job.

Fast forward to last week, we scheduled a play date with one of Raphaela's friends from her previous Gan.  All was going well, when the other girl's behaviour deteriorated rapidly, she started to cry and complain of the cold, she became clingy and demanded that her mother take her home.

At the time, I thought this event could be filed under Anomaly.

Yesterday, Raphaela and I had plans for lunch with one of our closest friends.  The girls have grown up together literally since birth. On the walk, Raphaela chatted happily about all the thing they would do, all the games they would play and how excited she was to see them.  As soon as we walked in the door, Raphaela started crying, "I want to go home Mommy! Mika is not my friend!  My leg hurts and I want to go home."

At first I thought that she had been hurt somewhere in our seemingly innocuous walk through the sunny streets of Jerusalem.  I asked her, "Raphaela, are you sad? Are you angry?  Show me where it hurts.  Tell me why you want to go home."

She puckered up her lips, much like she looked when she was first born and resting on my stomach after the first major event in her life, and cried out, "I want to go home because I want to go home!"

Could be that I misinterpreted this almost obvious manipulation and power play, but I decided that Raphaela cannot learn that our plans go to Hell in a hand basket whenever she feels like it.  I told her that she was perfectly free to sit in the corner and cry all she wanted, and that I was going to attempt to enjoy the time with our friends.

And cry she did.  And kick and sob, for close to an hour.  My friends whose daughter is the same age understood, though it certainly dampened the atmosphere.  We left after an hour and a half, and I wondered if Raphaela needs counselling for...Fear of Play Dates.

I must admit that I felt some resentment as well, I rarely enjoy grown-up time with friends, and rather than play with her mate, she chose to ruin it for all of us.  At the time that she was throwing the mother of all temper tantrums, I wished someone would just step in and tell me why.

(Post script:  About one minute after we left our friends' house, Raphaela said to me, "Mommy, I don't want to be cry, I want to be happy."  About one and half minutes after we left our friends' house Raphaela announced that she was happy once again.  When we got home, she was singing and playing as if nothing at all had happened.)

1 comment:

Ariela said...

Her manipulations are sub-conscious - she is not saying how can I manipulate mommy. You want the "bad" behavior to undergo extinction. You have to figure out the conditioning stimuli that is reinforcing it and stop that stimuli. It is most likely your internal reaction. Don't get into power struggles with her -she will always win.
I have said this before, but a Shefer Chug Horim will change your life.