Sunday, July 22, 2012

No Means No - Sort Of

If you could tally up the words I spent today, there is one that would certainly come out on top: "No!" In the past there have been times when I've resorted to saying no in a different language (even sign language) because I'm so tired of that one syllable word, but today I couldn't even grasp onto that - it was the good, old fashioned, American "No!" at every turn. The thing is, the kid is relentless. She will say, "Please...please, Mama....Mama, please..." over and over again until it just about drives me mad. I know it is all part of her plan. In my rational moments I know there will come a time when she lets it go if I don't acknowledge her pestering, and I know that she keeps it up because time has taught her that I will eventually give in, but when I'm in the moment all I want is for her to stop.

Today most of the "No" battles were fought on the field of food, like when she wanted more licorice, and when she wanted more to eat before bedtime, or when she wanted pizza for a morning "snack". On and on it seemed to go. Every time I turned around the kid was at the pantry and I was saying, "No!"I will say that we held out pretty well when it came to food, she certainly didn't get everything she pleaded for (I think that Jason secretly thinks the kid has a tapeworm), but there were other moments that I completely folded.

The perfect example of that would be the time this afternoon when Abby was happily sitting in her "box" with the iPad, what seemed to be a ream of paper, and her scissors. I loved this for several reasons, but mostly because the confetti she was creating was contained, I had, after all just spent time picking up itty-bitty pieces of paper off the floor in the sunroom, the dining room, and the living room, and I was not about to pick up another piece. As I zoomed around with my plastic bag, Abby would pop her head out and ask, "Close it, Mom....please!" She wanted me to close the top of the box so she was all shut in, just to open everything up the moment I turned my back. After about the fifth time of doing this, I began telling her to do it herself. "I can't," she would say, adding a, "Please, Mama....close it." This is when we entered the "this-is-the-last-time-I'm-doing-this" phase of the game. Game, set, and match went to her on this one. I probably said that about 10 times as I closed the box, again and again. It finally ended when I got up and left the room.

As a teacher I have had many a lesson on how to deal with arguing. There's that old saying that it takes two to argue. When students start arguing with me (and they do) the trick is not to engage. My word is the end and that's that. The thing is that doesn't always work for Elizabeth the Mom. So that's my lesson for today: Don't engage - Just walk away. Abby's pretty sharp though and I suspect she'll figure out a new way around that one too, but maybe I'll have a day, or two, respite from the dreaded, "No!"

Abby joined the band. She does play a pretty mean guitar!

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