I'm just gonna say this outright: girls are more dramatic than boys. I am not big on gender stereotypes in general, but I can declare this one to be true with absolute confidence. You see, I grew up in a home with sisters (no brothers) and I was sometimes the root of the drama. With three girls, there was a lot of it to go around. I've noticed that my nephews don't seem to engage in a lot of drama. They may choose to invest their time in non-productive activities like punching each other in the head or making weapons out of Legos, but they don't usually stomp down the hall with a wail of "You don't even love me!"
With my daughter, I get the full package: the stomping, the wailing, the eye rolling, and the dramatic statements meant to turn my cold black heart into something squishier and more easily manipulated. What scares me the most is that this is not a phase. I fully expect it to continue until she becomes a mom herself. Honestly, I cannot wait until my daughter's future child - my grandchild - sits down at the dinner table, pokes the homemade food on her plate, and solemnly announces that she couldn't possibly be expected to put it in her mouth and swallow it.
I'll give you a couple of examples of the drama. On Monday, I picked my daughter up early from daycare. Since it was over 100 degrees outside, I took her to one of our local public pools. It was incredibly crowded, just as I knew it would be - wall to wall bodies. This is not my kind of scene. I don't want anyone touching me while I'm in a pool. However, I took one for the team, because the kid really wanted to go. We were there for two hours. I even bought her some lemonade and popcorn.
Later, after dinner, I gave her a bath to wash off the chlorine (and God knows what else). By 7:00, she was in her pajamas and I was hoping for an early bedtime. However, three of her friends knocked at the door at precisely that moment. They wanted to come in and play.
"Oh, I don't know," I said. "You're in your pajamas, the dogs are freaking out, and maybe it's just not a good time. Some other day."
She threw herself on her bed, crying mightily. "THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVER!" she wailed. The pool, the popcorn, the lemonade . . . all a distant memory now, I guess. And really, the worst day ever? The very worst? That doesn't leave a lot of room for war, 9/11, expired coupons, empty cookie boxes, etc.
I ended up letting her friends in for a brief play date. Because I'm the worst mom ever on the worst day ever.
On the last day of school, I picked her up from daycare and took her to the farmers' market downtown. She complained incessantly about wanting something to drink. I finally relented and bought her a lemonade. She took exactly one sip (because she was, you know, so incredibly parched and all). I decided we weren't having much fun, so I walked her back to the car. I told her I was tired of the complaining. She cried all the way back to the car. When we had to stand on a corner for a while as a train passed, she wailed, "This is the worst last day of first grade ever!"
When my friend was here last weekend, we took a day trip on Sunday. We had a great time, but my daughter's mood turned sour as we got closer to home on the way back. By the time we pulled into the driveway, she was in a full-on snit. She refused to come into the house and pouted in the van instead. It was hot in the garage so eventually I made her bring her act inside the house.
"What is the problem?" I asked.
"You don't care about me!" she accused.
Me: "So, you can tell I don't care about you by the way I took you out to lunch today. Is that it?"
Her: (shaking head)
Me: "Or maybe it was when I bought you the ice cream cone at the candy store. Is that when you could tell I don't care about you?"
Her: (shaking head)
Me: "Oh, I know, it was probably when I took you to the park and let you play as long as you wanted. Then I let you get in the water even though you didn't have a swimsuit. Was that it?"
And so on it went. Periodically, when she's been told "no" in response to one of her many requests, she busts out this old favorite: "You should just sell me and get a daughter you really want!" There are a few variations on that. I'll have to check and see if Craigslist has a "sell daughters you don't care about" section.
p.s. After I typed this blog entry, there was another meltdown, this one involving my refusal to take her out for frozen yogurt this afternoon. She told me that she was going to pull out her hair because she's "soooooo ugly!" Ten minutes later she hugged me and told me that I'm the best mom ever. She swings like a pendulum, this one. It is hard to keep up, ya'll.