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.

12 thoughts on “Unpopular”

  1. You are a good Mom! Good for you for understanding how those little battles work.
    And for raising girls that I’ll be happy to let my boys marry. THat’s important, you know! 🙂

  2. Well done!

    There are bigger battles ahead, I’m sure. (I know I’m waiting…the teen years are just around the corner)

  3. Great job, Elaine. Although if I had done that, Leela would have been kicking and screaming as well, and since I can’t get both of them in the car like that, I would have given up and gone back to the playground!

  4. I feel like I’ve been negotiating WWIII these days. Emma has been testing me BEYOND belief. We’ve had too many episodes similar to your slide situation as of late…oh 3…what a GLORIOUS age. I, too, hope that I’m helping mold a “woman” I want to hang out with. I can only hope she and I survive until that miraculous time comes. 🙂

    Theo, of course, is going to be the perfect child. Just like Alice.

  5. Great job – My hubby is not good at following through on threats and the kids know exactly how far to test him. Your kids will know you mean BUSINESS

  6. Kelley — have you MET Alice? I mean, recently? She was the perfect BABY, and she’s sweet and affectionate, but she is fast and destructive. She takes things apart for sport, just to see how long it takes me to catch her. ARGH. She’s going to test me WAY more than Helen ever did, that’s for sure. She has a MUCH stronger will… Leaf on the water, NOT ANYMORE.

    Nancy — I only hope that my kids know I mean business. That’s the goal. Mom was able to manage three of us, all bigger than she was, very gently. That’s because she did the hard work early of NOT letting us win the little battles. I hope and pray that Jerry and I can do the same with our girls. So far, so good!

  7. Huh. Normy has no comment….

    But yep. Damn if you don’t mean it….

    Now I can say to my kids: Did you expect some other result? And they just look at me with this far away spaced look and say “No….” Like they are wondering…

    What the hell WAS I thinking?

    Yep. Mom follows thru…..

  8. It did it again. I put my comment in less than, greater than brackets and it is getting processed as an html tag.

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