I am not a morning person. Even though I am early to rise I do not like people in my space first thing in the morning. I am up an hour before my kids so I can enjoy my hot coffee in the silence of the morning. I’m happy to sacrifice that extra hour of sleep for an extra hour of sanity in my day.
My one daughter bounces out of bed and runs laps through the house with a smile on her face. My other daughter rarely wakes up in a good mood. I enter her room with trepidation because waking her up is like lighting a stick of dynamite. You only have a matter of seconds before the big BOOM! (If I had bothered reading her instruction manual at birth I might have noticed the warning label, “Danger Explosive.”).
After I have my coffee and I tiptoe as long as I can, I wake up my girls and ask them what they want for breakfast. My first daughter replies, “Cereal with milk.” I quickly accommodate her. My second daughter replies, “A soufflé.”
Me: <blink. blink.> “Really? A soufflé?”
Her: “Yes, a soufflé!”
Me: “How do you even know what a soufflé is? I’ve never made a soufflé.”
Her: “I know I will like it and I want it, NOW!”
Me: “Well, since it is 15 minutes before we need to leave and you are still in pajamas you can have Cheerios, or Rice Crispies.”
Her: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I WANT A SOUFFLE! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!”
I walk away and leave her crying on the floor over the soufflé she’ll never get. I have no idea what this ridiculous request is about. Is she testing me? Is she pushing a boundary? Is she delusional? I’m not sure what in our history together leads her to believe I am going to make her a soufflé, but it’s just not going to happen. Sorry kid.
Twenty minutes later her screams finally die out. I wipe her nose and explain, “Sometimes we just need to accept from the two options we are given. Making up a third option does not make it an option.” She takes a breath, “OK Mama. I’ll have the Cheerios.”
I felt exhausted, but victorious.
That is until she puts on socks. This is what my child wore to school:
After the go-round about the soufflé I didn’t have anything left in me to argue over pink, glittery, knee-high socks over top of her purple pants. It was simply dashing when coordinated with her pink and gray camo jacket and neon green trimmed sneakers. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and thought to myself, “Oh whatever… it’s just socks and it’s preschool.” Besides we are already 10 minutes late and if I say no to the socks we will have to tango for another 20 minutes.
I have learned to let these little things go. If she feels like she has control over the small things then she feels like she can be a winner. One day she’ll learn that I will always win at the big stuff because the big stuff is important. The big stuff is where she will know my love for her.
I consider it an important lesson in life to teach her that screaming and yelling to get her way is not acceptable. I know we are going to bump heads a lot in life thanks to our very strong wills, but butting heads over socks is not what I want her to remember. I want her to remember I said no when it really matters. In the grand scheme of things her outfits do not personify her character. So, I give up expecting her to wear “normal” outfits. But, I won’t give up expecting she use kind words and a calm voice.
If you have a strong willed child like mine, hang in there!! And, don’t be afraid to stand your ground on the big things and just let those little things go (like socks). Let your kids have these small victories. I promise you’ll both walk away feeling like a winner.
The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.
Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy