It seems to happen a lot lately…one of the girls (usually Baby A) will ask for something. I’ll tell her no, and she begins to cry.
Everything in my parenting arsenal tells me not to respond to crying. What Mommy said is what goes, end of story.
You must hold Mommy’s hand when we’re walking in the neighborhood, no matter how nicely you ask to walk by yourself…and/or no matter how loudly you scream that you want to walk by yourself. That is not an option. End of story.
I feel so silly holding the line when the thing in question is so insignificant.
Just looking back over the last couple of days, we had a near come-apart when A asked for some water. I was in the middle of fixing lunch, and I told her that she would have milk with lunch in just a few minutes. You would have thought I’d told her that we’d moved to the desert and she’d never get anything to drink, ever again.
In light of her outrage, I felt silly, “denying” her water. I finally said, “A, if you want water, you must ask nicely.” She settled enough to ask properly, “Mommy, may I have some water, please?” I gave her the tiniest sip, and everyone was happy-ish.
Yesterday she asked to play with her lacing cards. I gingerly told her no, that that is an “afternoon” toy (more on how I’m trying to come up with some semblance of a new schedule since we’re NOT NAPPING, later). She fell apart! I told her again that she could play with her lacing cards in the afternoon, but then I spent some very focused energy getting her focused on another activity.
Holding hands in a public place is a rule, and I have zero problems enforcing that…but – to my knowledge – there are no Biblical references to playing with lacing cards before lunchtime.
In such situations I’ve tried to explain why lacing cards are an afternoon activity, or why we can’t play with Play-Dough right now. I don’t want to come across as only “because I said so!” on every issue…there are enough of those issues that actually matter…but I sometimes end up reversing my original decree.
I might say that we can play with Play-Dough IF we clean up our other toys…or we can play with lacing cards now, but that means we won’t have them to play with this afternoon.
Is that the right way to handle it? I don’t want the girls to get used to the idea that they can bargain with me.
Do you stand your ground on principle, no matter how small the issue?