My four-year-old can be challenging at times. She's incredibly stubborn. And incredibly smart. And strong-willed. And likes to be in charge. And vocal. And well, sometimes she's a bit of a handful. I hear that this comes with the territory of raising a red-head, but I have no idea if there's an ounce of truth to that. All I know is that it apparently comes with raising a four-year-old named Lorelai.
She's recently gotten on these kicks where she demands that we carry out our routine in a very particular order. For instance this evening we were headed to the park. We leave the house and head for our car when Lorelai begins to demand that she walk in front. Then she starts dictating who can get in the car in which order. Everything is an argument. It must be her way or there is a fit. A huge fit. A tantrum of enormous proportions.
I have no idea what causes this behavior. I've read and read and all I can come up with is that she is testing boundaries - trying to see what she can get away with. Everything I read says that I just need to be consistent and show her that I am in charge. Don't give in. She's trying to see if I'll make her mind.
After threatening to leave her home, she shaped up and we had a nice time at the playground. Then we started home. Her little sister asks to listen to music in the car and so I dock the iPhone and we start jamming. Lorelai immediately demands that the music be turned off and I turn on a video. I inform her that Logan asked for music first so we'll be listening to music for now. Then I begin singing along with the song trying to lighten up the mood. She then begins yelling at me to stop singing. I told her that wasn't very nice and she needed to behave herself. She then screams at me to stop singing now! And then I just lost my damn mind...
I started belting out those lyrics as loud as I could sing them. People ten miles away could have heard me singing. I was adamant that she was not going to win. I had had enough. This behavior happens all the time and I was drawing my line in the sand so to speak. I was finished. And I was singing.
When we got home she began screaming about who was getting out of the car first... and who would be opening the door... and when we would eat dinner... and let's just say that time out progressed to time spent in her room... to more time spent in her room... until...
Finally there was peace and quiet. And the sweet little Lorelai that I know is hiding in there finally appeared once again and smiled, hugged me, and said, "Sorry Mommy. I love you." We snuggled up, read stories, and she went to bed like a little angel.
I may have lost my mind. I may have gone a little crazy. I may have been stubborn. I may have been a little over the top. But I won. And it worked.
And I'll sing in my car whenever I damn well please, thank you. Because I'm the mommy and I'm in charge (or so I keep telling myself).