Lately I feel like a very negative person. I am constantly saying, "No" to my child. No, you can't climb on that. No, you can't have another cookie. No, we aren't going to the park. No, we're not reading that book again, it's time for bed. Sorry, you HAVE to brush your teeth. What a drag mommy is!
I'm trying to maintain my tenuous grasp on authority, which can be hard with a little Napoleon running around, competing for control. I'm the boss, and while we have a lot of fun, there's a limit to the fun, which is kind of depressing. It's a delicate balance. I don't want to fall into that trap of trying to be so cool and fun that all of the rules go out the window, and then suddenly I have a teenager getting into lots of trouble. But I don't want to sweat the small stuff, either.
Determining what is and isn't a big deal can be tricky. Playing with daddy for a few more minutes before bed? Not a big deal. Giving into obvious stalling attempts at bedtime, like extra drinks of water, or reading the same book 5 times? Slightly bigger deal. Demanding cookies before dinner? I don't think so.
Penny also thinks that if she says "please," especially in a cute or sorrowful way, then whatever she wants is a gimme. And she can be very hard to resist.
Strangely, we haven't had any Time Out Situations for a while, and I'm not sure if it's because Penny hasn't felt like testing her limits lately, or if she's been able to communicate better, or what. She has thrown a couple of fits, but they don't last long. She pitched a fit today while we were at a friend's house, because she wanted to play with a jumper that was in pieces. I wasn't going to put it together (and she's probably too big for it anyway). She was very angry at me and there were tears, and then she was laughing and smiling again. But I can't shake the ominous feeling that the tantrums will only increase...
Penny is surprisingly obedient, for the most part. She doesn't stray away from me when we are out. She stays in the bathroom with me while I take a shower. My mom used to say that she never had to worry about me getting into too much trouble as a baby. She would say, metaphorically of course, that if I were put in a room with broken glass, that I wouldn't touch it. Penny is the same way - she's not very impulsive and her sense of self-preservation outweighs her curiosity. But she never wants to put her coat on. If I want her to run in the opposite direction, all I have to do is say, "It's time to put on your coat!"
Meanwhile, here are some other observations from the week:
1. Washable markers are a marvelous invention. Penny loves to color, preferably with markers, and as a result, she now knows 8 colors. She needs help getting the lids on and off, but she will ask me for the color she wants, so I can help her with the lid. She's pretty good about staying on the paper, but when she's not, that's where the washable part comes in. Brilliant.
2. Mr. Potato Head rules.
3. Every girl needs a couple of little cars. Penny has a friend who has lots of cars and trucks, and now Penny is interested in cars. I think that's a good thing, so I let her pick out a couple of Hot Wheels, and I even got one for myself.
4. Songs by They Might Be Giants are still entertaining. I have been stuck on this one for days:
Penny likes it too.