Once, when Stella was an infant, my American pediatrician warned me, "Watch out." The doctor knew I had a strong willed girl, and that she'd challenge me.
Strong willed kids sleep less. They cry more. They cry louder. They refuse to play by themselves. They need more. They demand more. Their demands are more immediate. These kids are are amazing, so confident, and sure of their points of view. They know their own minds, and can't be swayed. They're persistent, resolute, and steadfast (heyyyyyy sleep training, wherein on the first night my kid wailed for four hours. Straight. Stopping only when I FINALLY picked her up.) They're things of wonder. But they can also do your head in. (Into a plate glass window. Because that would be so much less painful.)
To see my girl, and you think, what a good cookie. And she is a good cookie. A really good cookie. The best.
When we're out, you can bet your shoe she'll behave herself. There will be no tantrums. She'll sit nicely, and colour. Maybe she will play quietly. She'll follow directions, accept a firm "no", and is the model of exemplary manners. She'll great people. Ha-wooh! She'll say please and thank you (tee-tooo).
But when we're inside, when its just her and me, well, people, the illusion is cracked, and my pediatrician was proved right. Oh so right.
There are hour-long temper tantrums about the injustice of being made to wear pants. Or take off pants. Or put pants back on. Every. Single. Time. When I insist that she pee before leaving for breakfast, my kid freaks out, crying, hitting, scratching, yelling, waking up her father who deserves a sleep-in more than just about anyone. Then she pees. ON the potty, and glares at me with hatred so fierce because I am the jerk that made her go pee when, clearly, she DID NOT HAVE TO!
Part of this is, I recognize, being two. An extra dash of drama is added by our recent move, and all the changes that have been imposed upon my girl's life. She feels out of control. So she wants to autonomy over her body. Particularly the pants region.
But still. Every time I want to leave the house, we need to go through an hour of the following:
E: Stella, go sit on the potty.
S: No! No pee pee. Bye bye pee pee. No potty. Bye bye potty. Wha! No!!! Whahhahahahahahahahahahahahahah!
E: You don't need to pee, you just need to sit on the potty.
S: (as above)
E: Okay, I'll just sit here and wait for you. Tell me when you're ready to go on the potty.
S: (tantrums for an hour)
The above scene is totally entertaining on the page. But when you have to live it, when the act of getting out of bed, or leaving to go anywhere (and ps, we have to leave to do even the most basic things, like eat, or get coffee) entails an hour of wailing, well, nope. No! No tantrums! Bye bye tantrums! Waahahahahhhahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaa.
I'm planning to turn this tantty train around. I don't want compliance and obedience. I just want a more manageable situation. I want to be able to transition from PJs to clothes without the overwhelming desire to put my head through a plate glass window.
I've started reading Parenting The Strongwilled Child, (found via my favorite hippie BS parenting podcast, Leading Edge Parenting) and I'm planning of following the five week plan outlined therein to improve behavior in two- to six-year-olds. Each Monday for the following six weeks, I'll write about what I'm learning, and tell you all about my amazing realizations and stunning parenting wins. Or staggering failures. Whatever the case may be.
If you'd care to join along, and write about your own parenting challenges / wins /, please do. Link up in the comments to posts in this series.
Okay, team! We're not going to let these rug rats own us! Let's do this thing! Break!