It shouldn't be that hard, right? But some days, it is. Like today. Today Marcie came home hungry. She asked if she could have mac and cheese. I was working, and I told her she could if she could make it. Instead of just asking me for help, she began screaming at me: "I don't know how to turn on the stove!"
I popped my head around the corner, and I said, "Now you cannot have macaroni and cheese. You could have asked for help, but instead you screamed at me."
She began yelling more. I sent her to her room. (Luckily, she went. She's almost my size now, and I wasn't sure she would go.) She screamed and screamed and yelled a little and screamed.
I went to her room and told her she could come out when she calmed down, but no mac and cheese. She could have eggs, watermelon, cheese, cereal, chips, cheese and crackers, trail mix, a banana - but no mac and cheese. She stomped past me and pulled a hot dog out of the fridge. I ignored her until she began banging on the microwave and yelling at it, telling it that it was stupid. I said, "All you have to do is ask for help, and I will help you." She screeched back at me: "NO! I AM NOT GOING TO ASK FOR HELP!"
She screamed some more about how I am mean and a terrible mom and blah blah blah. And I sent her back to her room to calm down.
The whole afternoon went on like this. She'd freak out at some inanimate object. I'd ask if she wanted help. She'd yell at me. She also yelled at the TV. The TV remote. And the dog. I told her to sit at the table while she ate (this was to alleviate the dog issue - and after she did ask and I did help her with the hot dog). And then she said the most profound thing:
I DON'T WANT TO DO WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO.
And I understood completely. She just wanted to exercise a little control over her small corner of the world.
She eventually collapsed into a weeping puddle on the couch, and I held her. She told me about how she had argued with her friends at recess because they never share a particular toy. She told me how she felt bad because her brother got a pizza party at school today and she didn't (even though she had an ice cream party yesterday) - she said the "bragging" bothered her.
And then she eventually calmed down, ate her hot dog, and even got the TV to turn out without destroying the remote. Being 7 is a lot harder than I remember it.