Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #103 - Poor, Sad Sweetie Edition

Sorry, folks. If you've stopped by for your usual dose of silly Sweetie-isms, this post will be a disappointment.

See, despite her loose tooth good news (still in place, but now joined by a second loose tooth right next to it!) and her exciting acting debut a few days ago, it seems this past week has been largely a sad one for Miss Sweetie.

I first noticed it the night of her play, right around bedtime. Hubby tucked her in that night, so while she was still downstairs, I asked to go through our usual nightly routine with her.

Problem is, I was in a silly mood and I guess (to Sweetie) I went overboard a bit. Instead of asking for simple "Hugs, kisses, noses and poses" I had to continue on, also asking Sweetie for "toeses and elbowes and..."

... and then Sweetie smacked me. On the ear. To make me stop talking.

I yelled at her.

Ow! Don't hit! Don't hit me. You don't hit anyone - you know that!

Sweetie explained that she didn't mean to hit me, she just wanted me to stop being silly.

I understood. I knew she didn't hit me on purpose or out of anger. It was just her quickest way to get me to stop doing something. I explained that I knew she didn't mean to do it, but still - don't do it again. Ever. To anyone.

Sweetie started to wimper, tears rolling down her cheek. She gave me a hug. She was sad.

Without her saying anything, I understood. She wasn't angry at me for being silly or because she thought I thought she hit me on purpose when she didn't. She was sad because I raised my voice at her. Sad because she did something I didn't like. Sad because she hurt me. Sad because I was angry with her.

Recognizing this sadness, I gave her a hug. I took the barrette out of her hair, accidentally tugging at her hair as I did so. This hurt her a bit, making her cry even more. I apologized for hurting her. She still cried sad tears.

Why are you crying, Sweetie? Are you sad? What's wrong?

Still wimpering.

Are you crying because I said you hurt me when you hit me?

A nod of her head.

I'm sorry, Sweetie. I'm okay now. And I just hurt you when I took out your barrette. Does it still hurt?

A shake of her head. No.

Good. Then we're both fine now. And I know you didn't hit me on purpose. I know you know you shouldn't hit. I'm sorry I yelled. I love you, Sweetie.

I love you too, Mama.

Another hug, and she was off to bed. Everything was fine again - for now....

.... The next morning, as the three of us were getting ready for work and school, we all happened to congregate in the bathroom.

Back story: Since Hubby has taken up running again, Sweetie and I have become familiar with a certain smell in the house - a strong peppermint aroma coming from the Tiger Balm Hubby rubs on his knees before heading out to exercise.

So, as Hubby and we prepped and primped in the bathroom that morning, Sweetie had a question for her Daddy. But she didn't know exactly what she wanted to say. And she started to cry. Sad again.

She was soon able to explain enough to us - she wanted to know if Daddy was going to put that peppermint smelling stuff on his knees right then, but she forgot the name of it.

Poor Sweetie. I remember when you were just starting to talk and you got frustrated from not knowing all the words you wanted to say. It's tough to realize that even now, with your very large vocabulary, there are still words and ideas you're not sure how to express.


Moments later, as I drove Sweetie to pre-school, her sad state stayed on my mind. Gee... Sweetie sure seems rather emotional these days.

That afternoon when I picked Sweetie up from school, her daily note from her teacher reiterated my earlier thoughts.

(Sweetie) was quite emotional today.

Oh, boy.

It seems her friend I___ was not at school that day, yet there Sweetie was, wearing her pre-planned bright blue overalls - all ready to play Blue's Clues with this friend during recess. Poor Sweetie was so sad, that she had to change out of her overalls and into regular jeans to help her feel better.

The very next day, Sweetie donned her overalls again. I____ was there! Blue's Clues was successfully played! Yahoo!

But... upon that day's school pick-up, I found her playing with I____ at the sand table. I went to collect her things while she finished up. As I entered the play room again, I found Sweetie angrily yelling at another little boy who came to play with the sand as well.

Back story: For some reason, Sweetie has never liked this particular little boy, saying he's a bad boy who doesn't listen to the teachers or the kids. Oh, and I think he says bad words too - or at least that's what Sweetie's reported about him.

Instantly I intervened, angrily asking Sweetie what the problem was and explaining that A____ could do whatever he likes. She and I were leaving anyway, so it didn't matter what A_____ was doing.

After a bit more words and a Mama-enforced (half hearted) apology to A____ from Sweetie, she and I left. Sweetie's overly dramatic ways had her fully hunched over, a scowl on her face, and plodding heavier, slow footsteps. But I could tell her initial anger was subsiding. Now she was just sad.

How do I know this? Because the typical Sweetie is much more stubborn. As I've said before, she's a stomper. And as an angry stomper, Sweetie would have normally gone ahead of me, stomping and grunting loudly along the way.

Instead, on this day as we left her pre-school building and I was still talking to her about proper behavior and how to treat others, she quietly stayed by my side and reached for my hand. We walked calmly, sadly, out to the car together.

A____ is not my friend. He doesn't listen to the teachers or the other kids.

That's fine. You don't have to be friends with everyone. But you do have to be nice and treat people with respect. You know, Sweetie... the best way to teach someone how to be nice is to be nice to them.

Oh. (perking up a bit) I didn't know that. You never said that before.

Well, now you know and you can try that next time. Okay?

Later, as we drove along, I confirmed with her:

So I want you to treat everyone nicely now. But just know - it may not make that person be nice right away. Or maybe not ever. But you can still try. And if all else fails, just walk away.

Yeah, but if my friend I___ is there then I can't walk away. I have to stay with him.

You just take care of you. That's the most important thing.


Soon we arrived at our chiropractor's office for my weekly checkup. Sweetie's paper Super Hero Friend that she'd drawn and cut out had had one of her legs torn off. I suggested she bring both pieces into the doctor's office and ask for some tape to fix it.

Then the teeny tiny leg blew away in the wind.

Poor Sweetie.

Then Sweetie wasted too much time crying and explaining about what had happened with the leg, that she ran out of time to play in the office's play room.

Poor, poor Sweetie

I may very well be making way more out of things then I should be. And yesterday Sweetie did seem entirely like her usual self - even angrily yelling at her younger cousin for getting "her" Teddy wet (read: slightly damp) at Nana's house (there's the good ol' stubbornly argumentative Sweetie I know and love!). But for some reason Sweetie's emotional state seems just different than I'm used to seeing from her.

Another example:

She woefully asked me the other day:

Mama? When's December?

Not for a long time, Sweetie. Eight more months.

Oh. Okay. I was just askin'. (Oh, the pitiful tones a Sweetie can make).

Are you waiting for your birthday to come again?


Well, your half birthday party is in June, and that will be pretty soon.


I don't know. Maybe it's nothing. Maybe Sweetie's just learning how to refine her emotions. Maybe acting classes helped teach her more than simple line memorization. She hasn't been acting sad this week. She's just genuinely realized how to express her sadness appropriately.

See, Sweetie has been sad before, of course. But until this week, it's always come across as a more angry emotion than one of sadness. But now? Perhaps we'll have numerous shades of Sweetie to deal with rather than Always Happy Sweetie vs. Always Angry Sweetie. That would be a switch.

Is that a good thing? Uhhh.... I guess so.

Ugh. Give me strength.

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