Monday, January 19, 2015

And Then We Played Backgammon.

I will admit, that it is partly my fault. And certainly, partly Husband's fault. We tend to cave. We're cavers. There, I said it. Sometimes, after half an hour of being whined at, I hang my head and say, "fine. FINE. Have a cookie." Or play on the computer, or watch TV, or whatever it was that I said no to, for whatever reason I had.

Kee is exceptionally good at wearing me down. And she knows it. And since we've been cavers, she also knows that the chances are pretty darn good that if she keeps at it, she will get what she wants.

"Please mummy? Please? Pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaase?! But mummy, I really want [insert thing I've already said no to five times]! PLEASE! PLEASE!" And then she'll fall on the floor and sob, or maybe crawl into my lap and stare at me with watery eyes and a quivery lip. She follows me if I try to leave, she will scream if I manage to ignore her, she will take a breather to let me think that I've won and then come back at me. She's got it down to a science.

And it sucks, because I have to make her do things herself, no matter how much easier it would be to keep doing everything for her. I need to help her be more self sufficient FOR HER, no matter how much easier it would be to cave. She's six though, so she does not see it that way. She's not worried about being away from home on her own for the first time and being able to make toast without burning it, or keep from shrinking all her laundry, or clean a toilet properly. I realise that's getting way ahead of myself, but when she asks me to do things like brush her teeth for her, it's hard not to.

I have been trying to put my foot down lately. It's hard though, to put my foot down with the trembling lip and blankie clutching.  I'm a marshmallow. I really need to work on that.

Anyway. On Saturday, we had a bit of a break through. She asked me to make her breakfast. I said no, because it was the weekend, and I like to make them do it themselves on the weekend because it doesn't really matter if it takes forever. They know where everything is, and they can reach it all. She took a deep breath and started crying.

"Kee," I said, pulling her onto my lap, "you need to learn to make your own breakfast. That's why Daddy and I put the cereal and the bowls in the bottom cupboard, so that you could do it for yourself."
"I KNOW how to make breakfast," she said, glaring indignantly at me.
"Then what's the problem?"
"I don't WANT to! I want YOU to do it!"
"I need you to do some things for yourself, kid. You're a big girl now. You can't cry every time I say no to you about something. I'm not going to change my mind and say yes, and it's a waste of both our time for you to follow me around yelling at me. And you know what? If you start doing things like making your own breakfast, and putting away your own laundry, and cleaning up after yourself, then I'll have more time for things like playing with you and your sister. So I'm going to be ignoring your tantrums, okay?"
She looked at me for a minute, then dried her eyes and said, "okay."

About ten minutes later, I went into the kitchen, and there was Kee, very proudly standing beside the kitchen table where she'd set out two bowls of her 'wonderful breakfast recipe', which consists of Cheerios and corn bran squares, and two glasses of water. "I made your breakfast!"

Seriously? Best breakfast ever.


  1. So sweet! I started the chick pea thing with my nearly 4 year old son this fall when he had a temper tantrum every single time I asked him to do something. Put on his coat, get dressed, brush his teeth, buckle his seat belt, bring his laundry downstairs.... Now, every time he complies with no whining or complaining, he gets chick peas in his jar, which will eventually turn into a night out chez McD's. I long for the day I don't have to bribe him, but I don't miss the drama!!

    1. I saw your chick pea post - great idea. I'm thinking of doing something similar with my girls, with the rewards being things that I don't usually have time to do with them because I'm so busy doing things for them that they could easily be doing for themselves.

      We've been trying to drive home to them that as a family, we're a team, and that we all have to pitch in to make things run smoothly. They have to get used to doing things -- and I've got to get used to stepping back and letting them!