Friday, September 10, 2010

My daughter, hell cat

I have this fantastic daughter, you see, who is a hell cat. Or is that hellcat? Tonight, when she didn't want to get out of the bathtub I gave her a choice: get out yourself or I will get you out.

That seemed fair, no? At least I gave her a choice.

I counted down from 5, which is what I do, and she still refused to exit the tub, even though it was empty of all water and she must have been getting cold. So I reached in and grabbed her skinny, wet self.

Enter hellcat.

That child knows how to throw every limb in two directions at once while simultaneously becoming limp like some passive protester at a peace rally. Being covered in a slightly soapy water film did not help. I threw a towel on her to get some traction and held her around the waist while she flailed. I don't actually know what to do in this circumstance. Letting go seems like she wins. Holding her down seems wrong too though. And this girl was mad.

Everyone else exited the bathroom and I let her go. She retreated to the wall, her side to me, just like a feral cat. And I tried to control myself. I really did. But I had to laugh. With respect! This daughter of mine isn't going to take crap from anyone. She is stronger than I ever was already. She is also a little wild, and I love that.

Now I have dealt with insane cats at the vet where I used to work. It took at least two vet techs sometimes to hold a cat still for a simple physical exam. I have dealt with feral cats in my cat rescue. Catching them was a game of the mind. You had to use surprise and outwit them so you could grab the scruff before they had a chance to defend themselves. I was not scared of them, but I respected them. If you stopped respecting them you got hurt. I am scared of her though.

Not really scared of her, just scared of doing the wrong thing. I'm not some lay down parent who gets walked all over, but I do respect anger. Emotions of any sort. And my daughter's anger? I recognize it. It is me. If I could have fought like a hellcat when I was a kid I would have. But it would have done no good in a family with people who didn't even see me. I screamed and screamed and no one noticed. And for certain no one ever thought to ask me why I was so angry.

So I asked her why she was mad. Tell mommy what you are so mad about. And do you know what she did? She walked back over to me, laid down and submitted for the diaper and pjs.

Just because I respected her. And stopped to ask her why she was mad.

I think I guessed right. Today I am a good mom.


  1. Good guessing. May you always be so lucky as to be able to see into the psyche of a child.

    (Slight irony intended. Doesn't always show up in print.)

  2. Ah yay I'm glad it all worked out for you. my yougling of 18 months has moments of extreme tantrums which sound so similar to your daughter. We tried the "ok darling I will just pin you down so you cant hurt yourself or mummy" which never really works so we tend to opt for a very stern look then saying very calmly, "If you want to act like a baby that's fine but I'm not watching it" and proceed to walk into the adjoining room.

    Usually gets his attention and having kept my back to him he comes up for a cuddle (that's our way of saying sorry)!

    Anywho just wanted to say well done you :-)
    Take care
    Kate Collings
    xx - always welcoming new followers and comments xx