Posted by Duff

I think if The Dervish could pick a song to represent herself, it’d be this one.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our impasses, how her way of doing things and the natural order seem determined to clash, and how completely pissed off she must be 85% of the time as a result.

It’s no wonder she has always been so quick to melt down. We, the world, just don’t get her. And don’t we all just want to be understood?

Someone asked me the other day why we didn’t discipline her for an especially angry (and seemingly disrespectful) coniption. I found it hard to put into words how the last 2.5 years have evolved to reveal that she is exactly the same person she was at 2.5 days – just older, and slowly learning how to express herself in more appropriate ways.

It’s our job to teach her what’s appropriate. It has taken some trial and error (read: banging our heads against the wall after traditional disclipine doesn’t always work) to figure out how she learns.

Sometimes it’s showing her that being angry and frustrated is understandable, and she is safe and can tell us what bothers her before backing up to explosion like a steam whistle.

I can understand how we seem permissive in the face of what appears (to the outsider) to be bad behavior. It’s a constant struggle for this parent to put what has proven right for The Dervish ahead of What Other People Think is Good Parenting. Who would believe that patience is her kryptonite?

It’s expecially hard for someone (impatient) like me, who has always been afraid of reprimands. Disapproval has always made my heart pound, even when I know someone else’s opinion doesn’t matter. I respond very predictably to discipline, and will do anything to avoid it. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t this way.

The Dervish, though, is different.

Other than I planned for, or knew to plan for.

I always thought I’d have a boy first. A very serious little boy – tentative, shy, or at least traditional older sibling, like my older brother. The kind of kid who willingly held hands as we crossed the street, observed with a cautious, journalistic eye.

Know what happens when you assume?

Enter The Dervish, who turned my world on its ear, first by being a girl, then by being anything but content, willing or cautious.

You may tell me she’s like all kids her age, but I know that’s not true, because I know my neice and nephew, and they were different as babies, and are different as a preschooler and a toddler than my child. They smile a lot. They take frustration in stride whereas we spend an inordinate amount of time teaching that throwing in anger is not ok. Nor were hitting or biting, when they were part of her repetoire.

There is little whining, crying or screaming in my brother’s house. There has never been much. I once asked my sister-in-law how she parented to reveal such happy, easy-going children, assuming I was doing something wrong. She pretty much told me, “Luck. And two horrific pregnancies.”

It’s only fair that if you spend most of a nine-month period unable to digest food, there should be some respite. By comparison, The Dervish made it far too easy for me to over-indulge, and I had few other symptoms, except for being on edge about her health for the second half of her gestation.

I still haven’t relaxed, but only because she hasn’t.

So, MC, what have you got in store for your parents? Now, at the point when I began worrying about my Dervish, all of your test results ease my mind. At the point when I felt like Mother Earth, Ready for a Marathon, carrying your sister, I am just starting to enjoy food though I pay for it with Monster Reflux and still haven’t broken the magnetic pull toward the couch.

So far, you couldn’t be more different, and I already appreciate that difference.

Besides, The Dervish has already informed me there isn’t room for another like her in our house.  A word to the wise, MC — when dealing with your sister,  speak softly and carry a big stick.

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