This past week was a trying one with the monkey. Lots of whining (no cheese, otherwise I would have been more into it), lots of blaming others instead of taking responsibility for her actions and feelings, lots of crying (on both of our parts) and lots of straight-out vengeful defiance.  It sounds like she’s 14 right? Nope, just 4.  She’s always been a little ahead of her times in terms of maturity, but this was a bit much.  And due to my utter frustration, my parenting skills have been less than stellar. Well, maybe I’m being hard on myself.  I think I’m just not feeling very creative this week in terms of figuring out new ways to do this job they call motherhood.

At the heart of it all, I know she is testing and figuring out her world. She was grabbing my attention in any way she knew how, so I could help her. It’s hard to explain life to a 4-year old (actually, sometimes 40-year-olds don’t get it either), especially when she doesn’t have the language quite yet to explain exactly how she is feeling. Instead of saying what she really means, she’s taken to saying she’s “exhausted” and that I’ve “scared her” with my loud voice (except…I’m not loud.)  While I don’t doubt she is tired at times, and I don’t doubt she is highly sensitive to sound, there is something else underlying these complaints.  Insecurity? Anxiety? Maybe both? I’m trying to figure out what that something else is, but nothing has hit the mark yet.

In the meantime, I try my best to teach her about making good choices – to see her part in any situation and remind her that no one makes her feel any particular way…it is her reaction to a situation that puts her in a particular mood. These are hard concepts for most adults to understand (I’m still wrapping my head around them sometimes…), so I don’t expect her to get it right away.  But the choices aspect of it… this is something that she can grasp. Good choices have good consequences for the most part, and this is what I want to focus on for her.

It’s timely really as last Thursday was the first day of the Jewish New Year. I’m not religious, but culturally Jewish, and I try to take what I can out of certain religious practices. What’s more, she goes to a Jewish preschool and at Rosh Hashanah, has learned if we have made good choices, we are inscribed in the book of life for the following year.  We celebrate this, eat apples dipped in honey and wish each other a sweet year ahead.

So for today I give you a little parody by The Maccabeats, based on “Good Life” by OneRepublic.  I really like the original as well (which is why you’ll find that below the parody.)