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After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Definition of a Strong-Willed Child

strong-willed child  n.  (m a d ee)  1. a child who would rather battle it out with Mom for FOUR hours than obey a simple command and pick up a washcloth!! 
Maddie definitely defined the strong-willed child yesterday.  I didn't know if I would ever want to blog about it at the the moment, but after a good night's sleep, I can see it in a new light.  It all began at breakfast.  She was in her high chair and had signed she was all done.  I gave her a washcloth to wipe off her face (which we do every day) and she threw the washcloth on the floor.  I picked it up and told her we don't throw our washcloths on the floor. I handed it back to her and she threw it on the floor.  I picked it up and told her we don't throw our washcloths on the floor, our washcloths belong on the table.  She threw on the floor a third time, so I decided something had to be done about this.  I told her she would pick it up this time.  I unbuckled her from her high chair and set her down to pick up the washcloth.  She refused.  I encouraged.  She refused.  Off to time out she went.  After time out we go back to the washcloth to pick it up.  She refused.  Off to time out she went.  This pattern repeated for TWO hours, with her in time out for 2 minute intervals.

By this time the line in the sand had been drawn and I was just as determined as she was to win, but I realized time out was not working.  At all.  She wanted to play.  I told her not until she picks up the washcloth.  She wanted music.  I told her not until she picks up the washcloth.  She wanted T.V.  I told her we could watch all the T.V. she wanted as long as she picked up the washcloth.  She refused.  She rolled on the floor whining and crying.  I held it all together until the 3 hour and 15 minute mark and I lost it.  I had to go shut myself in the bathroom and have a good cry.  What was going on?  Where did my wonderfully compliant little girl go?  And how come all of my tactics weren't working?!
She continued the whining and crying and rolling around for another hour and a half.  Until finally the poor thing fell asleep under the kitchen table!

I had to make a decision what to do about that stupid washcloth when she woke up.  I talked to friends, my sister, and Mom.  After talking to Mom she said I was the same way when I was little, but I don't remember that.   : ) 
I decided to take a new approach and do what Mom suggested...make a game of it.  I took a second washcloth and (very dramatically) dropped it and said, "uh oh!!! Mommy dropped the washcloth on the floor!  I'm going to pick it up and put in on the table like this!"  Maddie was less than impressed and still refused to pick up the washcloth. 
To end the now four and a half hour stand off, I took both her little hands and scooped up the washcloth and put it on the table.  We clapped and cheered and exclaimed the washcloth was now on the table! 
What a day. 

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