Power Struggles

Yesterday it was flash cards.

Today it was crackers.  And TV.  And water.  All over the bathroom floor.

Just in the past 36 hours, my Sweet Pickle has discovered that she has an opinion… which makes her more Pickly and less Sweet and makes me want to pull my hair out.

Yesterday we were playing with flashcards that come out of a dumb little cardboard box.  Whoever thought to package toddler activities in flimsy cardboard clearly did not have a toddler.  Toddler things should be packaged in metal or plastic boxes.  Or jars.  Or bags.  Preferably ones that open easily and also have a wide enough opening that they are easy to PUT A-WAY!!!  Help me take advantage of teachable moments, people! 

But alas… a flimsy cardboard box is what we had when I packed them neatly away and put them on the shelf.

After which she immediately took them back off the shelf and with a quick flick of the wrist had them all over the floor again.

So, as I’ve done every day for the past 4-6 months or so, I told her to pick them up.  And for the first time ever I got that look.

You know… that cocked head, sideways glance look that said “my brain is thinking something and I’ll bet you’re not going to like it and there might be consequences but I just might not care because I’ve suddenly discovered that

I

Have

A

Choice!”

Anyone know that look?  When it finally clicks and they are not your sweet, obedient, I’ll do anything to please you and get lots of claps and kisses baby anymore?  That was the look.  I swear, I watched it happen. 

I told her to pick them up, she gave me a long, pondering, dicovering look then simply turned and walked away to do something else.

I could describe the ensuing battle, but I won’t.  Basically it took at LEAST 20 minutes to accomplish a 20 second task.  And thus begins what will surely become daily power struggles with my 16-month old. 

I confess we were unprepared for this.  We thought we’d have a few more months before the little sinner came to full maturity, but it looks like we’re gonna need to start praying harder and drawing our battle lines.  Not because we’re mean, but because we love her… and she’s gonna learn sooner rather than later that the world does not revolve around her.  (Grandma, I need you, like, now!) 

Here are today’s most recent examples:

Today we watched two shows (I limit her tv exposure to one character and we watch her anywhere from 0-4 times a day… never more than two at a time… unless Daddy’s home, of course!).  I was doing something today and needed her occupied, so I let her watch two.  Then I turned off the tv and all hell broke loose! 

I had to laugh.  She would flop herself on the floor, look up at me, yell.  Then get up, flop herself back onto the floor, yell.  Then she’d lay down on her belly, kick and yell.  You name it, she tried it.  I just laughed and calmly explained to her that we weren’t watching anymore TV and instead we went outside and played in leftover rainwater. 

Situation diverted.

But really?!  Laying on her belly kicking and yelling?!!!

Then tonight I gave Pickle her cup of snacks.  She went into her toy corner and was being very quiet when suddenly my husband shouted her name.  I looked up and saw crackers and crumbs all over the floor.  Thus arose my husband’s turn to face “the look”. 

For at least 5 minutes he sat on the floor firmly instructing her to pick up the crackers while she casually looked around, swinging her feet from the step she was sitting on, making cute faces at him, but definitely NOT picking up the crackers like she was told. 

He turned and looked at me with a “what the heck am I supposed to do?!” look. 

Haha!  Oh, honey… wouldn’t we all like to know!

And finally, she has discovered that it is much more interesting to pour bathwater onto the floor instead of into the tub. 

This is not ok.

I confess, though, as frustrating as it is at the end of the day, my favorite power struggles happen in the bath.  She expresses her anger by smacking the water and kicking as hard as she can, which actually just makes water fly ALL over her face and kinda ruins the godzilla moment because she can’t breathe!

I also think bath struggles are funny because when she gets mad she tries to throw herself down onto her belly…

Hehe. 

You can imagine. 

Pickle: 2

Mommy: 1

 

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