Nancy Reagan Can Be Proud

August 13, 2009 at 8:30 pm 12 comments


Whatever the question, the answer is “NO!”

Like most two-year-old’s, Princess Reagan has come with the 1985 mantra “Just say, no” already built in. A war of wills has been building for some time, and I have been desperately trying to stay on top.

Up until a week or so ago, I chose to believe that the reason she ignored my requests and threw fits every time I tried to get her to follow a schedule was because she just couldn’t understand me yet. Her vocabulary is still growing; I assumed that meant her comprehension was too. Then, I witnessed something.

It was another challenging day at gymnastics class. Unlike the other toddlers, Reagan chooses to create her own routine apart from the class. While the rest of the mothers are helping their girls walk the beam and hang from the bars, I get to chase Reagan around the gym in circles, climb over equipment and pull her from under trampolines. On this particular day, there was a substitute teacher, and she was having none of Reagan’s foolishness. When she tried to run the length of the trampoline, Ms. Diana would get in her way and insist that she jump with two feet like instructed to. Over and over this went, until Reagan finally relinquished. After months in this class, it was the first time anyone had ever gotten her to do that! The gig was up. Ms. Diana was a mother and had been through this age a few times. She knew the game, and how to play it. I decided it was time to go on the offensive.

As the class moved to the bars, Reagan led me on the usual wild goose chase. While pulling her from under some equipment, I told her we were going home if she did it again. She did, and we did. I thought Reagan would be in tears. But, no, before we left she just smiled and waved good-bye to the rest of the class, completely un-phased. I was not giving up.

Since then, I have put her in numerous time-outs. Sometimes five a day. She just laughs at me as I plop her in her crib and close the door. I can hear her singing and laughing from the living room when she should be thinking about the misery she’s putting her mother through (grumble, grumble). I ask her to do something, and after repeated requests, eventually I’ll get an “OKAY!” complete with attitude. Many time-outs and “OKAY’s” later, she’ll finally give-in to my request, a little at a time. We’re making progress!

I am thankful in the end to have such a “spirited” child, as her pre-school teachers affectionately refer to her. I think I prefer playing King of the Mountain with her now to later in life compelling her to come out of her shell. She is already out, way out.

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Watching My Weight and My Words What’s Next, God?

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amy  |  August 13, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Don’t you just love how kids play dumb and it turns out we’re the dumb ones? 😉

    A little tip I discovered quite by accident when I, too, had a “spirited toddler”: I found that before we entered a situation (such as gymnastics, or in my case, day care), if I firmly told her my expectations of her behavior, it eliminated most problems. For example, before taking her in to day care, I would say, “When we go inside, I expect you to walk all the way to class.” Sometimes I might add, “If you throw a fit or sit on the floor, you will get a spanking.” But in most cases it wasn’t necessary. I think knowing what was expected of her helped her a lot. Since then, I’ve used that tactic a lot, and it really does seem to help. Even now that they’re older I find that having the “team meeting” beforehand helps, whereas if I say nothing, I soon find them getting out of control. The key is to be specific. It doesn’t help if you say, “I expect you to behave.” When they’re little, they’re still figuring out what that means.

    What I like about this method is that it mitigates the bad behavior and then I don’t HAVE to think of “creative discipline” later!

    • 2. Mama Bird  |  August 13, 2009 at 11:57 pm

      Great tip. I will be trying this tomorrow – it’s gymnastics day again!

  • 3. Kristen  |  August 13, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    As a result of “no” answers from my kids, I decided to do less asking and more telling. In other words, I stopped setting myself up for “no”!

    • 4. Mama Bird  |  August 13, 2009 at 11:58 pm

      Will have to make this my new mindset. Thanks, Kristen!

  • 5. Alisa  |  August 14, 2009 at 9:18 am

    I cherish her strong will; it’s the same my daughter has. Thank God He’s already put inside of us as moms everything we need to be equipped and empowered in dealing with this.

    A good resource to read and regularly refer to: Dr. James Dobson’s The Strong-Willed Child (or The New Strong-Willed Child.

    Take heart: Guiding Reagan’s strong will in the right direction will play in her favor as an adult. I’m certain God planned it that way!

    • 6. Mama Bird  |  August 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm

      Are you kidding? I have the CD set! LOL!

  • 7. Helen Baldwin  |  August 14, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Oh, a spirited child 🙂 Welcome to the club!

    Our spirited child will be 20 next Wednesday. She has her name on more than a few of my gray hairs, but she is pretty terrific, if I say so myself! She managed to keep her head on her shoulders all the way through high school, not falling in to the usually-absurd peer pressures or cliques, choosing her friends based on her own criteria, not the shallowness of the general school population.

    She’s now entering her final year in college… graduating at 20. She’s independent, creative, industrious, independent, generous, thoughtful, independent, frugal, and loves to cook.

    I can promise you that you’ll NEVER be bored or run out of blog fodder 🙂



    • 8. Mama Bird  |  August 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm

      So true, Helen. Blog fodder for years to come I’m sure!

  • 9. Amber's Crazy Bloggin' Canuck  |  August 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    My doctor’s response to my spirited child when she was 6 months old: “It may not be much fun now but I promise it will serve her well in the boardroom.”

    • 10. Mama Bird  |  August 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm

      LOL! I love that!!

  • […] Arrived at the Pepsi Center grounds along with all the other mothers to find out there had been some mis-communication between the PR folks and Kooza. Kids weren’t going to be allowed in the tent! After some back and forth it was decided that they could come in as long as we kept them in line and close at hand. My heart started to pound. I was the only one who dared bring a two-year-old and probably like most toddlers, she is not known for her faithful obedience. […]

  • 12. Rushing Toddlerhood « MaMa Bird's Blog  |  October 6, 2009 at 12:13 am

    […] So anxious am I to start building Reagan’s memories with all that childhood has in store that I couldn’t wait until her attention span surpassed that of Dorothy the Goldfish to try taking her to a two-hour circus show. You’d think I would’ve learned when she spent the entire duration of Madagascar II running up and down the theater aisles. Or, when we had to leave Walking with Dinosaurs briefly while she had a terrible two’s meltdown. And then there’s chasing her around a gymnasium all summer in her gymnastics class… […]


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