The Stand Down

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Lately, our ninjette has been charming our pants off, telling us how much she loves us, and trying to tell us jokes. She is still figuring out the art of joke telling. It is endearing and terribly cute. So it is hard to imagine that we could have such a picture like this where she has her arms crossed and face turned away in stubbornness, giving us glimpses of what her teenage years may be like for us. 

Not so many weeks ago, we were all out in the Porter Square area having a grand time. Ninja and I reminisced about our single days living in this area and all the little places we used to go to and observing how things have really changed too. Ninjette and Ninja got some dinner at Porter Exchange and then we met up again at Porter Square books to walk over to get some ice cream. (Aren’t we such awesome parents?!)

Once we entered the ice cream store, Ninjette spotted the dipped waffle cones and immediately wanted one. Now, we might be awesome parents, but we’re not awesome AND crazy. We told her she could choose one of the different cones that weren’t dipped, waffle cone included, with her ice cream. There was some embarrassing back and forth and then the ultimatum choice thing you are supposed to say to your kid, “If you cry/whine/complain/ask for the dipped cone, then we will have to go home and we will miss out on the ice cream too.” For most children, I bet this would’ve worked, but Ninjette is strong. She likes to call us out about 9 times out of 10. If it doesn’t work out in her favor, all 38 inches of her wrath comes out on you and it’s a little scary.

Thank goodness Ninja was there with me. He picked her up and carried her out of the store as she was screaming, “I am so angry! I am not going to be a part of this family! You are NOT my friends! Put me down! I don’t want to go home!” Of course, there were lots of people looking at us. We finally got her in the car and somehow we got her buckled in. It was a herculean effort, of course.

As we were trying to get out of the parking lot, she unbuckled the top part of her seat belt and refused to put it back on. So, I asked Ninja to pull the car over until she buckled. She totally refused to this logical request. Then, I had to take a picture because it was a little bit cute and I didn’t want to ever forget that we had these moments. When she’s a teenager, I will look back on this and laugh and remind her of these times when she wants to go that party and I won’t let her because it’s a school night.

And so, the stand off began. I don’t know how long Ninja was going to be there, but I was ready to be there for a while. Ninja went out and got a smoothie for us and then I showed him this amazing iPhone game called Candy Crush Saga. We listened to this funny game show on NPR and were having a grand time again! From the corner of my eye, I noticed that Ninjette was inching more and more forward in her car seat to see all the fun we were having and then, I see her buckling her seat belt.

WE WIN!!!

After buckling, she slowly asks if she can play the game on my phone too. I say, “Nope,” as I revel in my victory for the rest of the car ride home. While we are driving home, we also have a discussion about how the things we say when we are upset can hurt others. It’s something we are still working on and like me, she has a hard time saying sorry.

The stand off only ended up being about 35 minutes. It was a battle we chose because safety is important to us and doing unsafe things because you are angry or trying to defy your parents is not an acceptable method of communicating your dislike or disagreement. Maybe she got that, maybe she didn’t. At the end of the day, if you have a toddler or preschooler, the potential of them being in time out or getting in “trouble” is pretty much an all day affair. You really have to pick and choose your battles. Even on the tough days, when you are so fried from all their antics, you have to remember what’s the important battle to fight. Otherwise, they will defeat you.

Stay strong, parents! I stand with you and I understand. And if our eyes meet when I see you carrying out your screaming child, please know that the smile on my face is one of understanding and knowing. It’s a tough job – you are doing great. We’re in it together and in the words of G.I. Joe: “Knowing is half the battle.” 

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