Written by Daisy Leverington


Motherhood: Back once again with the ill behaviour

Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Four years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week, her daughter’s recent personality shift leaves her wondering how close the end of her tether is.

Daisy's daugher drawiing on a blackboardChild: “Mummy, how do I write ‘Izzy’?”
Me: “I-Z-Z…..”
Child: “NO!!!!!!! IT DOESN’T START WITH ‘I’!!!!!”
Me: “Yes it does sweetheart, listen to the sounds.”
Child: Has already left the room, slammed the door and packed a suitcase to go and live with a new family.

I am struggling. Always the hardest thing to openly admit, but I am and there you go. My kiddo has lost all sense of proportion when it comes to asking questions. Any response (even the one she wants) leads to a full meltdown and threats of never speaking to me again, which I would happily agree to at this moment.

It’s fair to say we’ve hit a developmental stage which sucks balls.

Our daughter is four-and-a-quarter, and I read somewhere that kids get a small hormone surge at this age. Desperate to cling onto the notion that our beloved little girl is under there somewhere, I’ve accepted this theory and live in hope that she comes back soon.

“We are an unstoppable force hitting an immovable object, and the fallout is leaving our daily family life scarred and delicate.”

Where an inquisitive little thing used to live now resides a frankly terrifying new creature, one which will NOT accept the first answer it is given and one which has the temper of a wasp.

She could be given or told exactly what she wants, and still find a way to turn the whole situation into a huge argument. I’m so tired of it. Physically tired, too. I work very late into the night, and get up every morning to see her off to school – my choice, I love my job – but it leaves me feeling a bit cold when all we do is argue for the precious hour before school.

After school we are greeted by a hungry, tired monster who knows it all. She may only have been in formal education for two months, but she must have been on some accelerated genius programme because by cripes she knows EVERYTHING.

She tests us in the car on the way home. “Mum, do you know what sound the letter E makes?” I make the correct sound. “NO!” she screams, I am wrong, so wrong.

Her defiance is making home life hard. It takes a long time to get her out of the house, she’s very strong-willed when it comes to clothes. Pick the wrong colour tights and you’ve lost 45 minutes to a screaming argument.

Out and about she’s less combative, often opting to sulk instead of shout, which gives my ears a brief rest. I’ve tried everything. Hours of careful negotiation and attempts at compromise which have led to time-outs and tears. I never let her completely get her own way; I have to maintain some semblance of authority even when I want to throw in the towel and let her insist that ‘cat’ is spelled ‘k-e-t’. It’s my refusal to budge which makes her furious.

Daisy's daughter readingWe are an unstoppable force hitting an immovable object, and the fallout is leaving our daily family life scarred and delicate.

But under her thick young skin still lies the sweetest little girl. She will draw me a picture and put kisses all around it and send me off to work with a bag and heart full of love. I’m so proud of her, despite spending 70 per cent of my time hand-wringing and doubting my ability to be her mum.

She still needs me to wash her hair, to make her dinner and to bounce a million ideas off. Even when she is so determined to defy me, I live in the hope that it comes from being inquisitive and strong. Maybe she’ll lead a company, or a country, when she grows up.

Maybe she’ll mellow and realise that I’m not out to prove her wrong, but rather to help and nurture her. It’s so hard to maintain this hope when we’re deep in argument number four before school though, and I’m quite honestly worried about how long my tether is and when I’ll reach the end of it.

I wonder if I’m doing it all wrong, but hope I’m not. Being thrown into big school can’t have helped her confidence, so for now I’ll deflect the defiance and shouting and put it down to a particularly difficult developmental stage.

Meanwhile if you see me wandering the streets whispering, “But it IS c-a-t!” just gently herd me back home and chuck a blanket over me, I’ll be alright; she leaves home in 14 years.


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Written by Daisy Leverington

Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.