This week I got to go to Pioneer Camp with my cousin Vaughan and I loved it! I even had a pioneer dress to wear like Laura Ingalls. Also tonight I lost another tooth!
So, as the title would suggest, yes, we had a bit of a tête-à-tête – Danielle and I – with Emelia this weekend. And to say it was sufficient tantrum would be the understatement of the year. Maybe even the decade.
What made this one particularly challenging was that we were still reeling from the news that a friend of ours, Gabriella had lost her defiant battle with cancer. She left us Tuesday morning with all the people that mattered to her most at her side. A few weeks ago we had run into her husband and two children in the same campground we were at, and it was great to connect with her children, knowing they didn’t quite know all that was going on for Gabriella. Quite honestly we didn’t either.
Gabriella was an absolutely amazing person that was always smiling and appreciative of my sense of humour (or at least played along with it). We had been on similar journeys from young adults to married people, to parents and so on… She started cutting my hair at least twenty years ago and had been my friend from pretty much day one. Both Danielle and I will very much miss her, but also feel very lucky to have had the chance to have her leave an impression in our lives. That will stay with us as long as our journeys take us. There is a memorial service in a few weeks on her birthday to commemorate such a fabulous life. Gone too soon, but definitely never forgotten. We will miss you dearly Gabi!
So, yes, Friday night we had the doozie of temper tantrums for Emelia. Recognizing that Emelia was a little clingy before heading off for Pioneer Camp at Fanshawe with Poppa for her last day on Friday, Danielle put her organization skills in quick order for a movie night at home with Mommy & Daddy. I was to pick up some popcorn on my way home from the mall, and then we’d all settle in for a night together. When Danielle lucked out with an early end to the daycare day we resolved that I would come home to pick up the ladies and head back to the mall to decide on popcorn together. We even slipped in the notion of a visit to her beloved Claire’s to window shop accessories.
All was well in the world… Or so we thought.
I hadn’t even been in the door five minutes before Emelia was arguing with Danielle about the outfit she should wear to the mall. When I tried to jump in to arbitrate the frustration it seemed to escalate even more quickly. Emelia was on a fast track to shouting and making little sense. It got to the point where we had to started warn and threaten the loss of her beloved movie night if she didn’t reel herself in. That didn’t even phase her, and after about the fourth threat that we were closing down movie night we realized we had to make good on it.
The rest of the night went downhill from there. She went nuclear when we rescinded movie night, popcorn and a trip to Claire’s. She was DEFCON 12 when we pulled out of her night time routine and said she was on her own for bed. She screamed at decibels and octaves I had no idea were humanly possible and she pretty much resembled Regan MacNeil more than she did our daughter. It was the toughest row we have had to hoe as her parents. I am sure that I have 50% more grey hairs as a result!
We thought we finally had her to sleep by 9:30pm when she had completely spent every last drop of her energy. But then, when we went in to see her to give her a kiss before we went to bed, she awoke and it was back on for another battle till almost 2am in the morning.
It was pure hell.
At the end of it, she had lost pretty much every privilege we could think of and then some. Her room was empty with nothing but essentials. We all went to bed exhausted, hurt and completely frustrated. With probably a Mount Everest of regret in our hearts. The only reassuring notion was that sleep and a new day might bring a reset we all needed desperately.
Thankfully even though I worked the next day, my start wasn’t till 1pm and we were all able to quietly sort our selves out in the morning. And carefully work ourselves away from the hellhole. Emelia and Danielle managed to work through a much better Saturday with some conversations about what happened but for the most part had a much better day. And bed time last night for Danielle and Emelia was a breeze with me at work—it was all I could hope for.
And today… with me off work and all of us together, was a much better day.
And the thing is, as the end of the day, as much as it was very trying experience and aged me a few years, I want a girl this fierce now, that will stand up for how she feels whether I agree with it or not and let me know exactly what she is thinking. I want to raise a woman who is confident who she is and trusts me enough to say everything she wants to say. In short I want her to be just like Danielle.
We will need to work with her on voicing her opinion in a much more positive way that allows for other realties… But that might be something for when she turns 8. And that’s the part that I keep coming back to: She is only 7 and some of this stuff is beyond comprehending. But respect and an open mind is something I will always preach until the day she gets it and it’s in her vernacular permanently.
There was probably a lot more things that happened this week but these were the two big things that made waves in our lives. While there is a little bit of the weekend still left, I am going to enjoy it with Danielle while Emelia slumbers away.
The week was long and horribly emotional. As John said this weekend we went through hell and back with Emelia’s behaviour. When she gets herself upset it is like she becomes a different child, she cannot emotionally bring things back in. It is our jobs as her parents to help her find the tools to guide her emotions, give her the words that she needs to express herself and to treat others with respect and love. She is a very loving child but very emotional. We just have to learn together how we can let her express herself while respecting the boundaries we have to have for her.
After a crazy long and horrible battle and with John at work on Saturday I spent the day dealing with her punishment of loosing many of her toys, playdate with our friends as well as loosing electronic privileges. It was a long day but she and I spent the day discussing responsibility and respect. And how her words really hurt our feelings and we knew she was upset and that people do not always say the best things when they are upset but that words still hurt. She seemed to understand with more life examples but only time will tell if she really gets it. I am sure we will have many of these battles with this high spirit, emotional, stubborn little girl. There are parts of her personality we would never change, and I know that her fierce personality will serve her well when she gets older, if she could figure out the emotional end of things.
The weekend’s behaviour was partly explained (although not excused), Emelia was beyond overtired. She had been at Pioneer camp all week. She loved every second of it but it meant she was coming home pretty tired, missing her parents and friends and therefore a bit of out sorts. Add into this a very late night Thursday night after celebrating grandma’s birthday. Emelia got to bed far too late and this was a recipe for emotional disaster.
The Pioneer camp is a highlight of Emelia’s summer. Poppa loves her love for the village and mommy loves her love of history and the want to discover and learn everything about pioneer living. I really want to take her to the pioneer village of my youth at Black Creek. It was the foundation for my love of history and I can see the same passion in Emelia. Even as I type this John is reading her history books about the history of each of the buildings at the pioneer village. She loved everything about the camp and cannot wait again until next year.
That was the high of the week, the low above and beyond the battle of Friday night was the news that we knew was coming but were dreading. It was the news of the passing of my amazing, beautiful, loving and stylish friend Gabriella. Over the weekend Gabi had been moved to palliative care and then quickly to St. Joseph Hospice. Once you are moved to hospice you are at the end of life, they provide incredible services for families, with emotional, spiritual, medical and psychological services for the patient and their families.
Gabi had been our stylist and friend for more than 20 years. She had the amazing ability to make you feel special each time you saw her. She had a smile and laugh that could light up a room. She was an amazing friend, incredible mother and loving wife. Gabi and I shared so many life events, we were the exact same age, we were pregnant with our daughters at the same time and shared all of the trials and tribulations of life over those appointments. She fought cancer to the very last breath, never giving up that the treatments would work. Our hearts are breaking for everyone in her life—especially her young children. Millie is the same age as Emelia only born 13 days apart and Mikey is only 5. I know they have the strength of lots of friends and family around them. Those children will be told and would have seen how incredible brave and strong their mother was. Cancer was stronger. I will miss you Gabi more than words can express here. You were a true and beautiful friend.
On that note I will spend the night with John and give Emelia one more kiss treasuring that although frustrating and exhausting – I have a life, full of health and a beautiful little family. Give your loved ones one more kiss and hug tonight, I know I will.