A few weeks ago, I saw a quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream, "Though she be but little, she is fierce." I want to frame it an put it over her bed. I want to know how to help her harness her fierce to use it to fight fights worth fighting. It means I have some fights to fight as well.
The other night she finally slept in her crib. The past week she had been coughing so much I always gave in and let her sleep with us. But two nights ago, the coughing had subsided and she did not want to go to bed, which was a good sign she was feeling better. I put her in her crib and sat down with my knitting to wait. This is our new approach, she screams, we sit next to her letting her know we are there, but she has to stay in bed. It has taken on a bad night close to two hours of screaming, on a good night, usually half an hour. This night, after about twenty minutes of screaming, it was quiet. I decided to wait five minutes, to ensure my leaving would not wake her. After one minute I heard her little voice. "Mommy, I am all done crying. You can leave now." I had won this fight, she had made her point. I left, and she slept.
Today started with a close to one hour time out. My husband woke up, showered, got ready and went to work all in the hour this was lasting. It started that I had the wrong cereal. I gave her the two options which resulted in a shaking screaming response, apparently she wanted a different option. I told her she can not scream at me, and she ended up in time out. She screamed for her two minutes and finally agreed to let her dad get one of the cereals for her. He was frantically trying to help me get breakfast served while getting ready for work. She grabbed the bowl, maneuvered herself behind me and then proceeded to throw the cereal across the kitchen, angry at we have no idea what. But in all her two year old defiance when asked to clean up she crossed her arms and screamed "NO!" And for the next almost hour, she sat in time out, every chance she had at ending it (every two minutes) when asked if she wanted to help clean up now and get out, she crossed her little arms and screamed, "NO!" I worked on cleaning up breakfast and made some coffee. She kept screaming. I checked email and facebook, the screaming continued. Finally through a wet, tear streaked face and gasps for air, tired from all the screaming, her two more minutes was up, and she nodded yes. She slowly helped me clean up her mess then climbed into my lap and just sat, both of us exhausted from a fight.
This fight I am willing to have over and over because it is more than a fight about being a right. It is a fight to teach her to obey, to listen, that there are rules to follow. It is a fight for her little heart. This parenting thing is so difficult, but so worth it, especially when you see a little fruit from the fight.