March 9, 2010

It finally happened!

I have finally done it, and I am not ashamed, or proud. I became so angry, I lost my temper with Alex. Actually, she was the recipient of a five minute tirade from her mother. Good thing I do not have high blood pressure, it would have been compromised by the velocity of my heated rant.

In my defense, my outrage was based on a very deserving event. Just thinking about Alex’s activity makes me nauseous. Alex ate an entire can of frosting, creaming supreme to be exact, and lied about it.

One might wonder why we even had frosting in our house, and (as always) I have an excuse. My sister is in town with her four children. Alex and I went to the grocery store in anticipation of their visit and stocked up on some items we usually do not get. I thought it would be fun to bake a cake with my adorable nieces. We could all have a piece of the cake, never, ever did I think anyone would eat the entire can of icing.

In retrospect, I should not have allowed Alex to be privy to my purchase of cake mix and icing. As always, I hid the forbidden food in a good location. But, Alex knew the little doughboy was living in our house, and she waited until an opportune time to find him. I suspect she had been looking for days, and was finally successful. She certainly isn’t alone enough in the kitchen to do a lengthy search. Locks may be in order before we have more visitors.

I would not have found out about this heinous crime if I had not received an e-mail from one of Alex’s assistants. The e-mail read as follows:

I wanted to let you know that Alex brought in a full Tub of “creamy supreme" frosting for her lunch today. I made the decision to take it from her and will be returning it at the end of the day for Alex to bring back home.

We agreed on the following strategy:

I just gave her a choice of taking the remainder home and giving it to you or throwing it away here. She did NOT want to throw it away. She said she would take it home and put it away. I insisted that she give it to you. She thinks you will ground her. I did not tell her that we had been talking back and forth so that can be up to you. So I will return it to her at the end of the school day for her to give to you. I did tell her I would follow up to be sure you got it.

When I picked Alex up after soccer practice on that dark day, I asked her if she had anything to give me. Imagine my surprise when my daughter with the angelic face looked at me and said “No”. Knowing this was not the correct answer, I asked her about the frosting. Alex’s face changed to that of a conniving, scheming 16 year old. She told me she ate it all after soccer practice.

I like to think I am patient, but to me this was lying, breaking a promise and making a very poor eating choice. At least in this case, I was patient enough to pull over to the side of the road. I have never yelled at Alex before, at least in recent memory. This was yelling. I screamed so hard, Alex was too shocked to cry. Her face became that of a naughty little girl. Looking back I do feel remorseful, but I know I made an impression.

John and I have a good cop/bad cop strategy with Alex. I Iike to “talk” to her and help her realize good choices and behaviors. Most of the time this works, if unsuccessful we send in John as the bad cop. He does the yelling, and that works too. I am good at the good cop role, but have now realized, I am good at the bad cop role too. Based on my recent rant, I should be nominated for an Academy award.

For the past year, Alex has called her father John. She claims this is because he will not let her listen to her favorite radio station incessantly. I believe this is also part of how Alex deals with the bad cop persona, she detaches her father from this person. Case in point - I am now Gary, not Mom. Alex must be seriously upset to change my appellation.

In this case, John played the good cop. John, or Dad as he is now called, and Alex discussed her behavior and crime. They talked about how Alex made her mom so upset, and what Alex would do to be a better daughter. So far so good; Alex has been on her best behavior; showers, dresses like a girl and makes healthy eating choices. She is working hard at school, apologized to her assistant for lying and stopped bugging me about food (temporarily I am sure). She is the sweet 16 year old every mother dreams about.

I am not proud of my temper loss, but perhaps it was for the best in the long run. The power of food is very strong for Alex, and the temptation so great she has not fully realized the consequences of unhealthy food choices. It is one of the few things she feels she can control. I hope, the power of remembering my temper may help her understand these consequences. I really do not think I am capable of losing my temper again for a long while. I sincerely wish Alex remembers my dark side for a very long time.

Disgusting, revolting, repulsive and plain gross are the first words that come to mind when I think about this episode. On the other hand; clever, conniving, cunning and shrewd can also be used to describe this behavior. I always strive to find a leaning in everything; I learned Alex can be ornery, just like other kids. Nice to know!

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