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The Queen Of Funk

Cora’s been in a rotten, terrible, no-good, horrible mood.

Since, like, CHRISTMAS.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen our sweet, happy girl turn into a weepy, crabby, snappy, angry little brat. Over, and over, and over again.

Cora will leave school and be monosyllabic. She won’t want to talk, walk sullenly home, and head straight for her candy jar. Then she’ll ask for something ridiculous, like a trip to the Build-A-Bear store, and when I say no she’ll storm upstairs and cry and sulk and yell at me when I darken her door for a good HOUR. Then she’ll pull through it, then be cuddly and sidling up to me and wanting lots of love.

I’m telling you, if it were someone else’s kid I’d be looking for signs of bullying at school, or abuse at home. Since it’s MY kid, I’ve had those talks, in depth, several times over the past few weeks. And I’m looking for signs of puberty because I swear, my six-year-old is acting like a teenager.

There has been trouble at school, I know. Cora’s been sitting next to a couple kids who talk incessantly. To HER. And she finds it distracting and nerve-wracking, worrying she’ll get in trouble, and it’s been slowly wearing her down all. School. Year. I finally brought it up to the teacher, who had no idea the situation was so bad and immediately moved Cora. So for this week it’s been slowly – SLOWLY – getting better.

And we’ve had to rein in Cora’s candy habit a bit, and that’s helped too. I’m telling you, we’re doing everything we can think here. But it’s incredibly tempting to try a little parental manipulation – withhold a little love when she acts up, try to bend her will with worry and fear. It takes everything in me to stay loving and kind – and firm, too – when she gets all door-slammy on me. I can EASILY meet her in that arena, I promise you.

And totally win. EVERY time.

But I don’t, and I think she’s beginning to come back around.

Yesterday she was heartbroken over some perceived slight after school and shut herself away in her room. I’d check on her every once in a while, kept up a matter-of-fact and loving dialogue the whole time, and eventually she came downstairs, grabbed her scooter, and headed outside.

“YOU should come TOO,” she groused. I came out and watched her scooter a bit, then asked what we could do together while Maddie was at a play date.

“We could take some books to the pond to read on a blanket,” she said sullenly in that I-know-you’ll-say-no voice.

I moved forward carefully. “It’s rather cold outside right now, honey,” I said, and she burst into tears.

I took control.

“Get your coat, I’ve got an idea,” I said, and hustled her into the car.

A few minutes later we were settled at the duck pond, a bag of popcorn in hand, a stack of books on the ground next to us, and the two of us snuggled under two down lap blankets.

Cora curled up tight next to me, and for a few minutes we watched the clouds float by. Then we read, and she laughed a lot – a LOT – and you could feel something releasing in her. By the time we went home she was joyous and sunny, and I heard her humming the rest of the night –something I haven’t heard in a few weeks.

I’m not saying the funk’s gone for good. But I can see the other side, and it’s lovely.


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