As many of you that know me and follow my blog know, I am the father of the three wonderful daughters. My oldest is 10. My youngest is 4. My youngest acts more mature than the 10 year old at times, but she is really only 4.
My middle daughter, Ansley, is 8. Ansley is a very pretty girl. When she was a baby, her face resembled that of a porcelain doll. She has beautiful blue eyes and brown hair and is quite tall for her age. Ansley is different than her sisters. Her sisters like to stay on the move. They enjoy activities and seem to always need to be entertained. Ansley enjoys laying around in her pajamas, watching TV, and eating junk food. Her idea of a great Saturday is never getting dressed and never leaving the house. She’s a kid that needs to unwind. Ansley needs what I call “Ansley time.’ She is a classic introvert in my opinion, and that’s OK. Her mother and I are introverts, and we’ve turned out just fine.
There are days when Ansley is a delight to be around. She’s inquisitive and cheerful. She loves to talk about things that happen in school, in church, and just life in general. She asks questions about God, science, and other things that might interest her at that moment. However, there are some days where a switch flips, and she turns into what I call “Evil Ansley.” I referenced “Evil Ansley” in a prior post when her mother was away at a conference. We had dinner together that night. That was the night she picked fights with her sisters and dropped her ice cream on the floor. It was not a night to remember – especially with Mommy not around.
Well “Evil Ansley” paid a return visit to the Vereen house this fine Thursday evening. Carrie and the girls got home a little late this evening. They decided to grab some dinner and go watch a friend’s baseball game at the neighborhood field. When they got home there were chores to do, and the girls needed to get their lunches ready for school tomorrow. Ansley came out to help me water the yard. All seemed to be going well. The girls took showers and started to get ready for bed.
Every night, we have to remind the girls that they need to do two things. Brush their teeth, and brush their hair. It never fails that they forget to do one or the other. It’s baffling to me. Surely, I never did anything like that, right? So if someone can tell me why this happens, I’m all ears.
In our house, Carrie usually handles the chore of getting them ready for bed. I believe the girls need some privacy. So, I usually go upstairs after their dressed and ready for bed to kiss them goodnight and talk a little bit. When I reached Ansley’s room tonight, she was sitting on her bed playing her Nintendo DS. The conversation was polite but short. I could tell she was tired.
When I looked at her though, I noticed that she hadn’t brushed her hair. It was what southern women would call a “hot mess.” I asked her to put down the game to brush her hair. She gave me “the look,” slammed the Nintendo DS down on her bed, and grabbed her hairbrush off the top of her dresser. She took a few cursory swipes at her hair and returned to her game. At this point, her hair was even more of a “hot mess” than when she started, so I grabbed the hairbrush and tried to help her get things straightened out. This turned out to be a huge mistake!
This really set her off.
She looked me and said, “I have already brushed my hair!”
I replied. “It doesn’t look like it to me!”
The meltdown had started.
I continued to brush her hair. There were only about 900 more tangles to get out. Ansley wanted me to stop so she flopped back on her bed. The hairbrush was still in her hair. The meltdown was now in full effect.
As a father, I believe a young lady needs to take care of herself from a grooming standpoint, and properly brushing one’s hair is one of things that needs to happen on a nightly basis. That along with a nightly bath or shower and brushing teeth are just standard protocol. These things just need to happen. Ansley and her older sister frequently disagree with this idea, and Ansley was definitely disagreeing tonight.
I finally finished brushing her hair, and I told her it’s time for bed. Apparently she’s not ready for bed so she objects. The angry tears were in her eyes. I just needed to kiss her goodnight and walk away, but I can’t. I tried to explain to her that good hygiene is important. That if she doesn’t brush her teeth, she’ll end up with cavities, and that if she won’t brush her hair, we’ll just get it cut really short. This really set her off. I’m definitely not going to win this battle. I really should walk away, but I still can’t. There was a lesson to be learned here. Surely a highly ticked off 8 year old little girl will listen to reason at this point.
Finally, Carrie has joined in on the conversation. She has heard most of the discussion and decides it’s best for Ansley to go to sleep. They can continue their story another night. Ansley disagrees. The meltdown was finally complete! The tears were flowing.
Ansley said a few things I didn’t understand.
I give her a hug and a kiss and tell her tomorrow will be a better day!
I’ve come to the conclusion that my daughter is a full-fledged introvert. As most of us know, introverts expend a great deal of energy when they are in social situations. They need time to recharge their batteries. They need to be alone for a little while. Most introverts enjoy diversions that allow them to gather their thoughts and prepare for the next activity. Ansley fits the mold. She expends a great deal of energy all day at school interacting with teachers and friends. She goes to an afterschool program where they do their homework and then have scheduled activities. Some days she heads straight to soccer practice right after that. By the time she gets home, she needs some quiet time, but there is more to do before she heads to bed.
For an introvert, this can be exhausting, and that is what I experienced tonight with Ansley. She was done! She needed some Ansley time, and I can respect that! Her mother and I are the same way!
I will do better next time and try to avoid the meltdown!
Wish me luck!