Not Quite Yet!

This is Rory’s favorite phrase. Rory, come play with me? Not quite yet! Rory, empty your lunchbox. Not quite yet! Rory, time to go. Not quite yet! Even for good things, it’s not quite yet, not quite yet.

I finally tracked down the origin yesterday morning when she asked my husband if she could feed the dogs, and he said: Not quite yet. Not surprisingly, this turned out to mean when I’m ready and possibly never, which is certainly how she uses the phrase.

Rory still maintains a bizarre combination of wanting to please us and wanting to control us. The minute I give her any sincere praise for anything ( and while she still wants the cheap praise badly, she can tell the difference) she wants to repeat it. If I am pleased that she remembered to make her lunch on her own without being reminded, she begins searching for things she can do without being reminded. I put my laundry away Mama! I turn light off for you! If I congratulate her for a truly difficult act of sharing, suddenly she’s showering everyone with everything she owns.

It’s hard to see, and hard to know how to help her. She’s desperately trying, still, to figure out what her role is in this family, and more than any of the other three, she wants a defined role. We won’t let her be the temper tantrum problem child (her go-to): after over a year of hauling her out of the way and letting her holler it out, or stepping over her on the floor, we’re very nearly over that one. Never once did it get her what she wanted (I say with some pride). But now what? Mommy’s helper? I don’t think this is her true instinct, I have to say. Disrupter? The person who, whenever Mommy’s attention is on any other child, needs something spelled or to talk about death or a band-aid? She wants that one, but again, I’m onto her. I try to show her how believed and important she is without letting her hijack everything else.

There’s an opening for the charmer, because although Lily had that for a while and is capable of it, she’s going with a combination of whiner and class clown at the moment. Wyatt is trying on a variety, too: mama’s boy who gets his way with a flash of the dimple? Teasing little brother? Boy genius, better at some things than anyone else? Sam is well settled in the responsible oldest role, so much so that after a family vacation I have to send him to a friend’s house for hours to give him a break. But with that role goes many a privilege, so don’t feel too sorry for him.

This started out about Rory, and ended up being about the roles they all look for in some way. I watch, and try to make sure I don’t do the pigeonholing myself. But still, the truth of the post I started with remains: is Rory convinced she has a completely solid place in our family and in my heart? I suspect, not quite yet.

One Response to “Not Quite Yet!”

  1. Carol Anne says:

    How about Mama’s Little Buddy? That’s the role my youngest has involved into. When I want to have some downtime, she’s the one I say, “let’s grab a book and read” or “how about you color me a picture on the floor while I lay down for 15 minutes? and then I’ll color with you.” Now that she’s older, we read our own books together, or work on our computer’s together (we call it “playing office”). She’s also my go-to sounding board when I need to think something through. It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t get all of what I’m saying, but she likes talking about stuff and hearing grown up things (on an appropriate kid level). It’s nice, quiet, private time with her.