Thursday, August 5, 2010


You pick your battles, right? You pick the things that are particularly important to you, and you stick to them because you're principled and you want your kid to learn about behavior and consequences and conduct and life and stuff, right?

Or, ahem, perhaps you arbitrarily decide that THIS is the hill you're going to die on, because you're tired, damn it, and you've been upstairs four times already and it's over an hour past her bedtime and, jesus just go to sleep already.

So, I'm sitting on the couch tonight, listening to my kid wail for me to take her to the bathroom -- a two foot trip down the hall that she has made solo many many times. Tom tries to run interference, sending her off into a shrieking tantrum and him to the sanctuary of the porch. And I don't move. I'm just sitting there and I'm not moving, and she is howling. And I am not by god going to give. I'm not, I'm not, I'm not, I'm... weakening.

Oh, hell.

So, what's my approach? Do I go in angry, do I ooze sympathy, do I guilt-trip, do I, um, come up with a better game plan that doesn't involve manipulating my kid emotionally?

And I get up there and open the door, and she hops out of bed, and I look at her. She's so damn little. I forget sometimes. She's only four, you know? I'm downstairs steeling myself for battle, but she's just a little girl. And there she is with her little round tummy and her tear-streaked face as she reaches out for my hand so I can walk with her into the bathroom.

Dudes. She totally played me. Damn it! The kid always wins.


sarah said...

but she's cute and she's little and she idolizes you...cuz that's what kids do.

Frances said...

Oh, it's so hard, isn't it? And they're only this little for such a short time. I usually let myself get played. My rationalization is that I won't be needed to walk to the bathroom in a couple of years, so what harm can it do to do it now? No idea if I'm doing the right thing or not....

mommatosena said...

You did just what you were supposed to do. Sometime dying on the hill seems like a good idea but then the reality of it is that the hill isn't really worth dying and you regroup and try a new approach. It's hard when they are smart to remember that they are still little. I bet it wasn't long after that walk that she was asleep. It's good to know I am not the only fiddle in town!

Anonymous said...

Tia, so many things you write are totally what I have thought a million times over. Looking back on raising my kids (10 and almost 13) I can see everything you write about vividly. Write a book already. Quite a talent for painting the literal picture!
Lauren C.

Cindy said...

Dude - you got it!

From a parent at the other end, the very best thing you can do is get through the next 18 years with as much of your mind intact as possible.

The battles fade into one long song of love.

Frances said...

And I keep thinking about this, Tia. You're right that she always wins, and that's because she's got you to keep her feeling secure, even when she's facing that scary nighttime walk to the bathroom.

AG Ambroult said...

we mamas talk a hard game but when push comes to shove, we're all a bunch of softies.
)oh, those little bellies get me every time!)