Chapter 2 of The Strong Willed Child tells the stories of some mothers and their very strong willed children. (Yes, I checked the book out about a month ago and am now on Chapter 3.) Anywho, the book left me traveling down memory lane, revisiting all the strong willed kids I've had the pleasure of knowing from teaching, working with in child care, and parenting. These memories include children who have done everything from killing baby birds found on the playground, to sneaking out of the house via doggy door to avoid time out, death threats, the sly middle finger used to scratch the forehead move, and making signs to alert a class full of children that their teacher "sucks." While some of these children have been difficult to get through to, each is wonderful, and I love and miss them dearly. I do think some of my wrinkles can be attributed to them, though! And even though she's the sweetest thing I've ever met, I'm pretty sure Livy may be one of these strong willed wonders.
She has this very distinct look on her face that alerts me that a power struggle very well may go down. One afternoon, we were in the middle of one of these mini-struggles. She wanted to stand in her seat at the table, and I wanted her to sit. She would stand up, look at me with that look, hear my request for her to sit, sit, then stand again. We went through this a couple of times, and my voice was beginning to get very stern, warning her that some kind of action would be taken. (Usually removal from the situation until she's ready to say, "Sah," her version of "sorry.") But this time when I said, "Sit down," she just looked at me with that little smirk, made eye contact, and spanked herself on the bottom instead of sitting back down. It was almost as if she were telling me, "Momma, I will not do what it is you're asking me to, so I'll go ahead and get the spanking out of the way." I had to hide my face so she couldn't tell that I was cracking up! When I reappeared she decided to sit and that was the end of it. But I'll always treasure that memory!