Step 1: I had two phone calls and two friends stop by with words of encouragement plus words from comments on this blog that all put more air in my balloon.
Step 2: I forcefully changed my attitude. I made myself smile and be cheerful to the point of being shrill and freaking Little Bear out. The result was positive and lifted my spirits and the mood of the house slightly. I thought I might institute a "save it for Saturday" rule whereby I may only complain for a certain amount of time on Saturdays to my husband.
Step 3: Instead of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by Grasshopper's crazy behavior, I have taken action instead. At this moment she is weeding my flower garden. She must do three days of chores for me (hard labor) without complaint. Any complaint and she gets another day (so we are actually working on four days of chores right now). I thought it might do her some good to work out her anger on the flowers rather than the family.
Step 4: I began reading a book titled Bringing Up Geeks: how to protect you kid's childhood in a grow-up-too-fast world by Marybeth Hicks. It was recommended to me by another mom (and really cheep on Amazon). I'm only on page 20 but here are some of the headers I've read through that have inspired me to be strong and stay firm:
Taking Charge: Geeks and Parental AuthorityAll in all, life is getting a little better around here. The tough moments propel me toward new and better solutions. Ultimately, my little darlings, as well as I, will be better for it...I hope.
Obedience is not such bad thing
We don't lose authority we give it away
The pitfalls of permissiveness
Setting limits, defining expectations