It was a spectacular spring day today, so after the girls’ naps (I use this term liberally, because Helen did NOT nap, thankyouverymuch) we went to Kids’ Space, a HUGE community-built playground that’s about 2 miles from here.

Both girls were climbing all around, having a wonderful time on the walks above the ground, and Helen found a great slide (a “twisty slide!”) at one corner. Alice tried to follow her, but is still a little too short-legged to be able to get to the slide without help. Helen raced past her little sister 4-5 times, ignoring my requests from the ground to help Alice find the slide.

I stayed on the ground so that I could keep track of both children, so if one had a problem I could get to them reasonably fast.

Well, I was tired of Helen ignoring my requests to help her little sister. So I told her as she went down the slide that time that she needed to help Alice, who had been stuck in the same little area for about 10 minutes (not upset about it, but definitely stuck). And if she did not help her sister the next time, we’d be leaving.

Helen flew past Alice and went straight to the slide. As she sat down at the top, I reminded her: “If you come down that slide right now, we’re leaving. If you get up and help Alice, we get to stay.” She came down the slide.

So I picked up the diaper bag, climbed up to get Alice, and headed to the exit. Helen got hysterical, screaming and stomping ahead of me, towards the parking lot. As I put her in the car, she flung her arms all around, slapping me, enraged. When I sat down to drive, Helen kicked the back of my seat, crying.

It was a hard lesson in Mommy Does Not Bluff 101, but this was a small battle. There’s a whole war in front of us, and I gotta win the little battles in order to turn this little person into someone I want to be around when she grows up.