So, we’re at that stage. You know, the one where children realize that they are separate from their parents and begin to not want to follow instructions because they were given by parents. Defiance. I’ve been told that this stage lasts about twenty years or so.
Fiona, being the sweetheart that she is, has her own unique twist on classic defiance. She flat-out wants to argue with you. And by you, I mean me.
She will grab an object, like a blanket, and say, “My blanket.”
Typically, I thwart her argumentative nature the same way I thwart my husbands. I say, “Okay. It’s a very nice blanket.”
She will get frustrated with me, put the end of the blanket in my hand and say, “No. You say, My Blanket.”
If I’m feeling cooperative, we will then have a little bickering match over the blanket, pulling it back and forth between us and claiming possession of it. About half the time she gets very upset a few minutes into this and drops the blanket and runs off crying that it, “Is Fiona’s Blanket!”
My kid likes to argue. She also likes to win.
She also likes to be defiant. Her favorite responses to things are ‘no’ and ‘never’. So, I’ve taken to repeating them back to her. Conversations go something like this:
“Fiona, do you want a sandwich or humus and pita bread for lunch,” I ask, in a nice reasonable Mommy voice.
“No. I don’t want sandwich. I don’t want humus. I don’t. I never.” She says back, in a snotty, frustrated (ie totally toddler normal) voice.
“Well, I never, too!” I say back, trying to diffuse her.
“No!” She screams. “It my never!”
Then I make her a sandwich while she cries in a corner. She eats the sandwich happily enough, though, so I’m not such a horrible mother.
The humor goes both ways though. The other day I asked her to stay off the kitchen floor until it dried. She edged toward it.
I asked her again to stay off the kitchen.
She reached out a toe to try to put it in the kitchen. I said, “Fiona, please! Stop testing me!”
She looked me straight in the eye, put a foot in the kitchen, smiled and said, “Testing. Testing 1-2-3.”
Then she freaked out because her foot was wet. Natural consequences. I was less than sympathetic.
So, this will probably last for a while. Arguing, testing, defiance. Part of it is a stage. A process of convincing her that I mean what I say and have the power to back it up. With a little persistence on my part, that phase will be fairly short.
The other part of it is personality. That’s not going away. She likes to argue. So does her Daddy, though. She comes by it honestly. So, while I will occasionally drive them both nuts by being completely agreeable, I will also occasionally indulge their penchant for argument. Most of the time though, I just give them leave them together when they get in that mood.