All her life, my daughter has wanted to break things. I don’t know what it is that drives her to smash, tear, and demolish -and that makes it really hard to fight against it. I feel like I’m fighting an invisible black night.

We’ve always been able to keep it in some sort of check, and Lacy’s never really ruined anything too huge. I mean, she made fast work of my glasses (twice) (and, yes, they were out of reach… so I thought), but that’s been the worst so far as I can recall.

As she grew up, I noticed a gradual decline in her mayhem. She became more interested in dress-up clothes and less interested in ripping pages out of books. We’ll still find the occasional broken toy, but for the most part I thought she’d grown out of it.

And then the last few weeks happened.

I’ve been wearing lipstick -something I’ve never really done because I’ve never found a good shade for myself. Well I found one. It was roughly $18, but worth it.
The first day I was gone to girl’s camp, Lacy ruined it. I came home to find it demolished. My brand new expensive lipstick. Gone.

While I was in Flagstaff with my sister, I went into a beauty supply store -something I’ve NEVER done. I bought a few little things like GOOD bobby pins and a GOOD file and some really pretty nail glitter.
I told Lacy that when Trenton took his Sunday nap, we would paint our nails and put glitter on them. After Sunday dinner, she laid down next to him in bed and the SECOND he fell asleep, she reported to me.
“Trent’s asleep, Mama! He’s asleep!”
“Go to Mommy’s bed and get the black bag and bring it to me. It has our nail polish in it.”

A few minutes went by and she reappeared.
Covered in glitter.

My brand new, bought at a beauty supply store… glitter.
I made a quick dash to my bedroom to find glitter spots just about everywhere.
“Where is it?” I asked Lacy, who had followed me in. I pointed to the glitter spots and continued asking, “Where is it?”
“I don’t know.” She shrugged.

I finally found it, mostly gone, on the floor in my bathroom.

And even though she’d only been home about 24 hours and I swore while the kids were away that I’d temper my temper… I lost my cool.
She knew what she had done was naughty… just like she KNEW what she had done with my lipstick was naughty. I sent her to bed telling her, “We will NOT be painting our nails!”
“But I just WANT to, Mom!”
“Then you should have listened to me!” I said.

I sat down at the couch and wondered- just as I’m sure EVERY mother wonders -WHY DO I BOTHER BUYING ANYTHING FOR MYSELF?!

And then I got the kids ready to go to grandma’s house.
We had a nice, long visit with Grandma -an hour of which was spent skyping cousin Kourtney. When it got time to leave, the kids were fussy.
He didn’t want to leave without taking another turn on Grandma’s stationary bicycle!
She didn’t want to leave grandma’s and go home! She wanted to leave grandma’s and go to “regular” grandma’s house!

When I told them both “no,” there was a community melt down.
Just as my older brother asked me if I might need help loading my kids in the car, I yelled at my kids to get to the door OR ELSE.
“But.. but..” Lacy said, (“but” is her new favorite thing to say) “MY FLASHLIGHT FROM GRAMMY!”
I loaded the kids in the car, fully aware that I had just lost my temper in front of my entire family.
I was embarrassed and I was tired. Worst of all: I was chuck full of hormones.

I drove home on the verge of tears. I was frustrated with myself and my kids. I’ve been frustrated with my daughter because I feel like she’s taken steps backward, but it turns out… I have to. I thought my temper had been getting better with my kids.
But it turns out I’m quicker to yell than I’d hoped.
Once home, the kids ran circles around me while I told them to go get their PJs. They didn’t listen. They DID acknowledge me, but they didn’t listen.
I watched my demolishing daughter put her hands in my beautiful $10 heels, and I asked her to please not play with them and to please bring them to me.
She looked at me.
And she continued to play.
Still feeling the shame of my shouting at my children in front of my family, I calmly asked her again to please bring me my heels.
“But… but…”
“Please.” My voice kept calm, “Bring those shoes to Mommy.”
She simply moved out of sight and kept playing with them.

So I got up. TOOK the shoes away from her and sent her directly to bed.
No PJs. No drink.
Her brother followed her.

5 minutes later?

We were all just overly tired.

So here’s to today. May it be filled with a longer temper on my part and a nice streak on my daughter’s.
And may all of my belongings make it through unscathed.


  1. I so feel for you. Don’t you feel like you’ve done something monumentally wrong and completely screwed up your kid when they regress like this? I hate that feeling. It’s like you work SO hard and wait and waitandwait to get to a certain point, and you’re finally “there,” and then next week it’s like you never made any progress. And I yell at my kids too much too. And they ignore me WAY too much. And we all just keep working on it. I’m not sure what I’m going to do in a few months when I can’t continue to blame their behavior (as I have for the last year) on “all the changes in their lives…” Hugs from Virginia!

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