She's a tiger all right. Saturday morning was a battle with a little tiger. Greeley had been extra cranky and feisty for a few days. (Hindsight, as always, proves it was probably due to the impending stomach virus. At least, that's what I tell myself to feel better.) Saturday morning was when Greeley's recent discovery of her own identity butted up against my and Rich's insistence that she follow her parents' instructions.
Greeley and I were at the dining room table when I told her no to something. I can't even remember what it was. Isn't that always the way? She responded with a gracious toddler fit, screaming and throwing everything in front of her on the table onto the floor. "Greeley, no. We don't throw things on the floor. Pick it up." "No!" "Greeley, pick up the erasers and the pencil or you are going to time out." "No!" Off to time-out she went. Screaming "No!" the whole time.
Rich wakes up to this. This was about the point where time started to slow down for me. Rich claims the whole scene only took about half an hour. It felt easily like an hour, if not longer. She refused to pick up the erasers and pencils. We gave her opportunity after opportunity to do so. She kept refusing. At one point, she picked up the erasers. But the pencil? That was a sticking point for her. She absolutely refused. Back to time out, again and again. It kept occurring to me that this entire battle was over a stinking pencil. I know, as parents, we are supposed to pick our battles. However, Greeley picked this one.
At one point, Shea came slinking up the stairs quietly. He was ever so nonchalant as he began to pick up every pencil he could find on the floor. "Shea, are you picking up all the pencils?" "Yes. I just wanted Greeley to stop crying." Ever so sweet, but overruled by tyrannical Mom and Dad.
At another point, the crying coming from timeout was no longer a toddler's cries. She sounded like a helpless infant, crying out for me. No words, just cries. I had to go outside. I came back in and looked at Rich, doing the crossword puzzle at the table. "Really? It really doesn't bother you? You can listen to her cry like that and not want to go to her?" "Yes, because it's more important that she learns to listen to us."
In the end, Greeley picked up the pencil. I know we broke her fierce little spirit just a little. But it was necessary.