Passive-Aggressives R Us

It all started yesterday evening. I asked Ceili Fey something… I cannot even remember now what it was… and she flat-out lied to me. Jon sent her to the corner for awhile.

Later, I had to call her three times before she decided to finally come to see what I wanted. I asked her to bring all of the laundry downstairs. She made it clear that she was not happy about doing so by not only having to be repeatedly told to get all of the laundry – hers and ours from upstairs – but also by dumping it all in the hallway to the laundry room. Admittedly, there is quite a bit of laundry piled up, partially because I’m bad at doing laundry, partially because she will wear something for a brief time – sometimes minutes – and then drop it in the laundry. She does this on a regular basis.

In any case, she disappeared for quite some time… we’re talking about 15-20 minutes. Knowing all the while that supper was nearly ready. We decided to wait and see how long she was going to stay upstairs instead of coming to the table. She finally came downstairs as the rest of us were in the middle of supper, dragging a large laundry bag with her, crying. It was at this point that I asked her what was going on. She explained – through sniffles – that she was trying to get the laundry upstairs in the little guy’s room. You see, Elias has made it a habit of removing every single item from his closet and throwing them on the floor. It got to the point that we stopped picking them up until their bedrooms get switched – hopefully in the next couple of weeks. In any case, no one has ever asked her to gather up the clothes from their room. Ever. In the whole history of her gathering up laundry.

As she came over to the table and started to eat, I explained to her that she never had to pick up their room. I even asked her if that has ever been something we have ever asked her to do. No, was her response.

As soon as that occurred, I thought to myself. Now where did I recognize such behavior? Hmmm. That was much like something I would have done at that age. Hmmm. And where did I learn that sort of behavior? Hmmm. My mother! the woman who still engages in similar passive-aggressive behavior even today in her 70s; the woman who engages in such behavior very nearly every time Jon or I correct Ceili Fey. It was then that I got irritated. At Ceili Fey. At myself. At my mother. It was then I realized that. Something. Must. Be. Done.

It was at this point that I gave Jon the go-ahead to engage in some punitive measures (toe touches, jumping jacks, push-ups, jogging in place…) that we had discussed at our therapy sessions – I had initially rejected them because they seemed horrid for multiple reasons, not the least of which seemed far too drill sergeant-ish.This time I was tired of her general attitude as well as her passive-aggression.

By the time the evening was over, she had done a set of push-ups, a set of toe touches and jogged in place. Each for a different infraction. Finally, it was time for bed. Frankly, bedtime couldn’t have come soon enough – I was exhausted, and I’m sure she was as well.

This morning, Elias and Noah didn’t wake up quite as early as they normally do. Jon went ahead and got ready to go and I drifted back to sleep as I fed Henry. I’m not certain how long I slept, but shortly after I awoke, I heard the bus that comes shortly before Ceili Fey’s bus. Although, this time it honked which I found odd. I laid there a little bit longer before getting up and checking the time. It was 8:22. Two minutes after the bus gets to her stop. I went into Ceili Fey’s room. She had opened her curtains and was in the middle of her room… I think I interrupted her twirling or dancing. I asked her what time it was. “8:22” was the response. I asked her what time the bus came. A blank look. I said, “8:20.”

Shortly after that, Jon got home and was none too happy with her missing the bus. We both felt as though it was more of an on-purpose thing. Sort of a payback for the night before. She does this sort of thing from time to time. Again with the passive aggression. I tell you, I’m so sick of this. I get it on a regular basis from my own mother, I refuse to accept it from an eight year old.

Her morning was spent initially cleaning in the loft, followed by getting Elias and Noah ready and out the door, then, once we got to the office, I printed out some reading comprehension and math worksheets for her to do. She was none too happy about it but I really didn’t care at this point. I was so irritated. When something different happens, it seems as though it throws our whole routine out of whack. Not good. In any case, I signed her in at school right before her lunchtime, without a minute to spare.

I spent part of my day researching passive-aggressive behavior. It seems that it’s not going to be terribly easy to overcome but we really don’t have much of an option. It has to stop here. I suspect we may wind up seeking some psychological help in this matter. This has caused me to take a big ol’ look at myself and realize that I have got to overcome my passive-aggression as well.

Now I’m trying to devise a fitting punishment for missing the bus and the attitude in general. As I sent her off to her class, I kissed and hugged her, told her I loved her but was angry with her, and informed her that there would be a punishment tonight. I have no idea what to do now.