My big girl came out of school today to tell me she hadn’t been a good girl. I asked her to tell me about what had happened, luckily we were walking home today so we were able to chat easier. She told me how she’d shouted at different people at lunch time, some teachers, some children, and how she’d run away from people, very out of character for her. I asked her why she thought she’d acted that way, and we talked about how sometimes we felt sad or angry and what sorts of things might make us feel that way. We also talked about how it was unkind to shout at people just because we didn’t feel happy, and how they might have felt about being shouted at. So then we talked about the sorts of things that she could do if she didn’t feel happy, and about how important it was to talk about feelings rather than keep them inside. I asked her what sort of feelings she thinks she might have been having today. She told me that she missed her friends and teachers at her old school and we chatted about them and how it must make her feel very sad and that it was ok to miss people. She then told me how she misses her birth family and we talked about them and what they might be doing today. I held her in my arms and for the first time ever I genuinely felt she ‘wanted’ me to cuddle her, I squeezed her tight and she squeezed back and sobbed in to my shoulder, then we talked and cuddled some more until she felt calmer and happier to talk about other stuff. The whole episode lasted about 75 minutes.
This had been real.
She then turned the conversation around to chocolate and how, she had lots of it and how fat she would get if she ate it all and we laughed. She then suggested she could sit and watch a film and eat her giant chocolate santa, nice try I thought. She then went upstairs to get changed, stopping on the way to remind me she’d not had pasta for a long time and how much she likes pasta, nice try I thought again. I started the dinner. It wasn’t pasta. She got out her reading book (unusual in its self) and wanted to tell me about it, I listened. I then asked my middle girl about her day, aware that she’d had none of my attention so far. So I listened to her tell me about her day, whilst my big girl kept trying to get my attention back to her book and looking very put out that my focus had gone from her. I checked on dinner and listened to more about the book realising at this point she was taking advantage of the situation to get attention, she knew I wouldn’t reject attention seeking tonight. I asked my baby girl about her day and again had to listen hard through the chatter coming from my big girl about her book until Daddy rescued me and sat with her to read her book.
The rest of the evening was much the same, lots of pointless conversation and obvious demands for attention. Looks and stares for reaction. False smiles and showing an unnatural interest in things. This had been fake.
Even though she resorted back to being false, I really feel like I made a bit of a break through with her today, its not very often she allows her true self to be seen, its not very often her tears are real, and I’ve never felt she’s ‘needed’ me, but for a very short time, she let me in, she allowed herself to ‘need’ me, she let me be her mum tonight.