There were many times Gothel had felt like giving up.

The times when the baby just wouldn't stop crying was one of them. Yes, Rapunzel was a happy baby, all toothless smiles and cute little baby noises and all. But when the girl cried, she cried. Nothing would console her- - -not Gothel changing her, feeding her, playing with her, nothing. Rapunzel would just cry, wail, scream all the harder and louder. And when the girl scream- - -oh, that was when Gothel really worried. Rapunzel's scream could echo through the forest, and anyone walking within five feet of her carefully hidden entrance could find them. So, though it was five-fifteen in the morning and Gothel was exhausted from being woken every ten, fifteen, twenty minutes by Rapunzel's quiet, fussy baby whimpers, Gothel would act the role of mother and try to coax Rapunzel back to sleep.


Another time Gothel felt like giving up were Rapunzel's toddler years. That was when everything was "I can do it my-self!" followed by the waterworks if Gothel even lifted a hand to help her. She was little miss independent, despite the fact that she was two years old and could barely take three steps without tripping over her ankle-length blonde hair. If anything, Rapunzel's two through eight years were worse than her infant days (a fact which surprised Gothel immensely). If Rapunzel woke too early, she was tired and cranky during the day. If she stayed up too late the night before, she was tired and cranky during the day. She would brush her hair and color on her walls, share little 'secrets' with Gothel ("I found a HUUUUUGE bug in my room this morning, Mother, and it was so pretty!" "That's wonderful, darling."), but if Gothel tried to help her with anything Rapunzel would pitch a fit, crying and screaming loud enough to put her infant days to shame. By age eight, though, Rapunzel's hair had grown long enough to reach the floor of the tower outside; Gothel attached a hook to the only window and began to leave during the day.


Then Rapunzel went through a rebellious stage. That was the stage where Gothel was ready to take the girl and shove her into the real world, back to the king and queen if only to get away from the child's attitude! Everything was an argument with that girl, from waking up to brushing her hair to letting Gothel in and out of the damn tower ("Rapunzel, let me up!" "No, Mother! If you want to leave, then just leave and don't come back! I'm never letting you up here again!" "And how do you suppose you're going to live, up there in that tower alone? Don't make me the bad guy here, Rapunzel!"). They fought over the animal Rapunzel wanted ("Get that creature out!" "Oh, but Mother- - -" "OUT!"), what to make for dinner, and the types of paint Rapunzel wanted. The worst, though...that was when Rapunzel wanted to cut her hair. Of course, Gothel refused to let her ("Oh, but Mother, then I could leave, and you wouldn't have to come here everyday- - -" "I said no, Rapunzel, you're still too young- - -" "I am fifteen, Mother!" "Rapunzel, don't make me the bad guy- - -"). They ended up in a screaming match that lasted for hours, until Gothel finally had enough and just left. She climbed down the tower and disappeared for a week, Rapunzel's sobs and yells in her ears and the sight of tears flowing out of her emerald eyes burned in her mind. Gothel left food for Rapunzel while the girl slept by coming through her secret entrance, and when she came back at the beginning of a new week, Rapunzel silently let her into the tower and never spoke of cutting her hair again.


There were so many times Gothel felt like giving up, because she learned (or maybe she knew all along but just ignored it) that she wasn't fit to be a mother.

But then Rapunzel would smile at her toothlessly, reaching for her and calling her "Mama".

She would race to the window, throwing her hair over the hook and urging her up with "Mother, come look what I painted now! Hurry up, hurry up!"

Or she would sneak up behind Gothel, throwing small pale arms around her waist and burying her face in Gothel's back to muffle the "I'm sorry, Mother." as Gothel cooked for the two of them.

And every time Gothel left in the morning, every night before Rapunzel slept, they played their little game ("I love you, flower." "I love you more!" "I love you most.").

And those times were the times when Gothel truly felt that she was doing fine as the girl's make-shift mother. Those were the times she treasured the most.