My 8-year old is a lot like her dad in many ways, but there is one thing she takes after me on. Night time. Like me, my oldest daughter is a bit of a night owl. She seems to get a second wind when the sun goes down. This will come in handy when she enter post secondary and has to spend countless nights working on assignments (I turned in some of my best work at 2 a.m.).
But being a night owl means you’re not much of a morning person. This can work against you when it’s a school day and you need to get up and ready and out the door by 8:30 a.m. That being said you can understand how my usually happy and chipper daughter is a little unresponsive and very unco-operative in the morning. I should realize this but when I have 3 kids to get ready and fed and out the door my perspective (and patience) is a little warped.
One morning this week I had enough of the pouting and argumentative behaviour. My daughter was annoyed with something I had asked her to do and to teach me a lesson she decided not to come down for breakfast, that she wasn’t going to eat breakfast that morning.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. In the past I’ve cajoled and convinced her, albeit reluctantly, to come join us for breakfast. Usually after eating her mood has brightened and the day continues fine. But this morning, in my tired frustrated mindset (I told you I’m a night owl too) I didn’t go see her. I was tired of fighting in the morning and using breakfast as the rope we tug back and forth. This time I decided if she didn’t want breakfast then fine, I wasn’t going to push her.
I continued our morning routine getting the other 2 kids ready. When it was time to go I told my 8-year old to come down and get ready for the van. Of course she never believed I wouldn’t let her go to school without breakfast so she moaned and groaned and cried about needing something to eat. I gave her a larger morning snack for her to eat at recess but that didn’t help.
At this point I was debating if I had made the right choice, letting her skip breakfast, but it was too late to change anything, we had to go. We just made it to school with my 8-year old in such a state of tears about being hungry. After dropping my son off I took my daughter to the bathroom and had her splash water on her face to try to calm herself down.
I didn’t take her home, although she asked not to go because she was so upset; I made her stay in school. I didn’t want her to think her behaviour was a way to get what she wanted. I didn’t see her until the end of school at 3:30 p.m. She was back to her old self and didn’t seem to have any issues in the classroom. We both gave each other a big hug and apologized, both of us.
Did I do the right thing? If I had followed my old pattern and made her come downstairs and eat, like I’m sure most moms would have done, the morning drive to school would have been uneventful but we’d probably have the same issue with breakfast the next day. Did I push the lesson too far by sending her to school without breakfast and so very distraught? Maybe. I don’t know. Will my daughter pull the breakfast strike again knowing that I won’t cave in? Only time will tell.
Sometimes the best lessons to learn are the ones you experience yourself. I think my daughter and I both learned something from this experience. Hopefully we’ll remember and handle things without so many tears. I hate those lessons.