Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Children Can Smell Fear

There are some days, as a parent, when I think it would be easier to put out a bowl of goldfish crackers and hide in my closet until David gets home from work. Days when Ava, who doesn't bother with carrots or formalities and eats ranch straight off of her hand, spills an entire bowl of ranch on the living room carpet. Days when Alana stands by the front door, crying and repeating her demand to go outside, for 20 minutes, until she eventually runs out of energy.

Some days are difficult, because children are little people, with their own big opinions. Especially mine. They have very big opinions.

Alana is possibly the most stubborn person ever put onto this earth. She's a girl who knows what she wants, and she refuses to budge. Bribery doesn't work. Neither do threats. The only way to win is to be the last man standing. My will, which is only occasionally strong, must outlast hers. Her four-year-old will is strong, stubborn, opinionated and does not know when to call it quits.

Ava is not nearly as stubborn. It's possible that she is affected by birth order, and her natural place as second born means that she is more easy going. She goes with the flow, because she doesn't know any other way. She can allow for other people's opinions, because she has compromised since birth.

There are some situations in life where strong will is a good thing. When faced with peer pressure, it's probably better to not budge. When faced with your mommy telling you no, just listen. Because I'm not changing my mind on whether or not you will ever be allowed to stand on top of the recliner.

The only thing that matches Alana's stubborness is the debate about who she inherited it from. I say David. He says me. Don't let anyone else fool you, it's David. I'm stubborn on occasion, but more frequently a pushover. David is never a pushover. Never.

My only choice when faced with the World's Most Stubborn Child is to become the World's Most Stubborn Mommy. Outlast Alana's standoffs with the rules of life. Outsmart a four-year-old. I may have to say no 1,000 times in one day, and I will. Giving in will teach her that her tactics are successful, and I can't have that. I'm the boss. Not Alana. I'm a first born too. I can be bossy.

Eventually she has to fall asleep. Then I can remember that she can be nice too. Not just the World's Most Stubborn Child.

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