I never thought that parenthood would be easy. I knew what I had put my mother through, I had heard stories of how naughty Andy could be. I figured that he and I were going to have to buckle up and hang on tight, especially through the teen years.
What I didn't know was that the teen years would start at the age of five.
To say the first week of Kindergarten was bumpy would be a massive understatement. Addie lost privileges left and right - no screen time, no books before bed, no playdates. It was as though someone had taken my sweet, occasionally mercurial, five year old and swapped her with a 16 year old in the throws of puberty.
All week long Andy and I were treated to eye rolling, foot stomping and huffing. I would catch Addie muttering behind our backs or glaring at us for no particular reason. She didn't want to do her chores; She hated what was for dinner. She didn't want to play with her sister; She lied about the littlest thing. She was sassy and mouthy and mean. For no reason she hit her sister's bottom as hard as she could, and then lied when she was caught.
Andy and I were at a loss. Our spirited, independent, sweet five year old had morphed into a moody, opinionated, grouchy brat. We talked and talked to her, we took away privileges, we punished her actions - we got nowhere.
If this was what Kindergarten looked like, then I wanted preschool back. I was so disappointed - I thought school would make Addie blossom and bloom. I thought she would come home full of stories and eager to show me what she had learned. I had not bargained on the tired, aloof, mean-spiritedness that was I was getting.
And then on Friday morning she woke up with fever and cough. She had to stay home with me where she she snuggled, and rested, and napped. Half way through the day she curled up on my lap and whispered I really miss you and Brenna when I am at school, Mama.
I know, I told her, we miss you too. But when you're at school we don't do anything fun with out you. B naps and I do laundry and wait for you to come home.
Oh, she murmured and snuggled a bit closer with a hint of a smile.
Friday night her fever broke. We spent the long weekend with family and friends and back she went to school yesterday. When she got home I was told about meeting Ronald McDonald and going to the gymnasium. I heard all about what bullies are and was shown new work in the homework folder. She chatted and she played with her sister - and finally I got a glimpse of Kindergartner I thought I would have.