I remember playing HORSE with a basketball once as a kid – maybe in the third or fourth grade. A friend was over, and we were in my driveway challenging each other with our shots, trying to not be the first one who missed enough to spell out the word.
On this particular occasion I was certain my friend cheated. I don’t remember how. I’m not even certain how it’s possible to cheat playing HORSE. But whatever I perceived happened, it made me so mad I threw the basketball at her. I threw it so hard, and right at her side as she tried to get out of the way, that it knocked the wind out of her.
She went home crying.
Word got back to my parents and they gave me a stern lecture and demanded I go to her house and apologize.
You must go and apologize.
I’m not going over there. She deserved it!
If you don’t apologize you’ll be grounded.
Fine, then. Ground me. I’m not apologizing!
I don’t remember how it all turned out, but I do know I was willing to give up anything to stand my ground. I was tenacious like that, and my mother recently told me she was not prepared for my fury. Apparently my older brother and sister were “easy” compared to me.
The proverbial payback. My own daughter has a will that could bend steel with a mere thought. A mother and daughter who both possess strong wills is typically not a great combination, but I digress. Perhaps a post for another day.
But I thought of this story when I found myself in a similar stand-off with Ruthie this week. Like me, Ruthie sets her resolve, and she sets it strong. I don’t give ultimatums, but I believe in the natural consequences of our actions – like the time we canceled a family outing because of her behavior.
She’s too young to “ground,” but when she refuses to listen or throws a fit, I give time outs and I take things away. I’ve taken away toys, privileges, and favorite clothes, but none of that seems to faze her. She hasn’t been attached to anything enough for it to matter. She just takes the hit and moves on.
Bryan bought her this pair of shoes on Sunday after they went out to lunch. It’s her first pair of Big Girl shoes, in that she’s outgrown the toddler sizes. What you must know about my daughter to understand the impact of owning these shoes, is that she is a SHOE WHORE. At the mall? She darts away from me and I find her fondling $120 red patent leather shoes in Nordstrom’s. When a lady walks by with pretty three inch heals she’ll actually approach her and say in her sweet little voice, “I LIKE YOUR SHOES!”
These shoes that Bryan let her pick out? She sleeps in these shoes.
So the other day when she was refusing to go to bed, when she folded her arms in a huff and declared, “I’m NOT going to bed until you give me candy!” I said, “I’m sorry you feel that way. Now give me the shoes.”
Wailing. Moaning. Rending of garments.
I know I should have felt so sorry for her sad little heart, but inside I was tapping my fingers together like a villain with a plan: I discovered her kryptonite!