November 10, 2009

Learning to Pick My Battles

While I have a fairly strict schedule with my daughters, I learned early on that I need to be flexible. Being a sane parent means knowing which battles are worth fighting. I could run myself ragged if I tried to maintain control over everything my daughters do.
This morning is a good example of a battle not worth fighting. When it was time to go to preschool, everyone came into the mud room/laundry room. I started helping each of them put their coats on. Sue Sue didn't want any help and ended up with her coat on backwards. I tried to fix her coat and she resisted. After I had everyone in a coat I told Sue Sue to look at me and listen carefully. Once I had her attention I explained to her that if she wanted to fix her coat it needed to be done now.... if she walked out the door with her coat on backwards it would stay on backwards. I also told her that I would not help her fix it once we arrived at school. In other words, even if the other kids questioned why her coat was on backwards, it was going to stay that way. She said she wanted it on backwards, so off we went. (Keep in mind I had to hide my giggles throughout this entire process). We arrived at school and I discreetly informed the teacher that Sue Sue would need help removing her coat in the classroom. (Of course I zipped it... backwards or not I needed it to stay on). My theory in all of this: at least she agreed to wear a coat today... yesterday she didn't want the coat at all.
Part of me worried about what would happen when the other kids saw Sue Sue with her coat on the wrong way. Most of them didn't seem to notice, at least not while I was there. If they giggled later on, well, I'm confident Sue Sue would giggle right along with them. She knows it was silly and she wants to test boundaries. I figure if I can let her test those boundaries now, then maybe I'll be a little better prepared to figure out which battles are worth fighting when they're teenagers.

13 comments:

shydub said...

LOL, different personality and character of your quad made me smile. I know its hard for you coz you are the mom and the one handling them everyday, but its funny with me as reader quadmama, I also giggles when I tried to teach my son the proper way to hold his sippy cap, but he insisted on his own way. They grow so quick, now you can't tell them what to do hehehe they have their own ways. Like you said at least she wears her coat. Thanks for sharing this, now it gave the idea now not to fight when my kids reach that certain age.

Quadmama said...

Ahhh the sippy cup battle. I had many days when I just let them spill their milk.

Sadia said...

Maybe it's a good thing you live far away. If our six were in one room, the resulting level of defiance might create a black hole!

This morning Jessie was placed in her carseat without pants, shoes, socks or jacket because she refused to get dressed. I dressed her in the car once we arrived at school. She'd refused to get dressed because I asked her to wash her hands, and she was mad. She threw her lovey when Melody handed it to her, so that got left at home.

Quadmama said...

Jessie and Sue Sue could definitely cause some trouble together. Yesterday I threatened to send Sue Sue to school in her pajamas... she also tends to throw her blankie when she's mad... so some nights she has to go to sleep without it.

Kim said...

"Being a sane parent means knowing which battles are worth fighting." Truer words were never written! One of my twin daughters is very easy-going, but the other is Miss Independence. It's a real tightrope walk handling the daily control issues with her.

Stephanie B said...

Agreed. Sounds like the right approach.

Quadmama said...

Some days it's quite a challenge to remember I have to pick the right battles....

Brooke said...

Mo has spent a lot of time carrying his coat around lately because he refuses to wear it. He's also been wearing two different socks and sometimes two different shoes. Obviously, I'm also a firm believer in picking my battles.

shydub said...

Im back here quadmama just want to share a links of free template, I remember reading here before about templates or something.

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glitzen said...

Wise Mama. I need to remember to say yes to all the things you can. A smart old fella used to tell my mom when she was raising us, "look for all the things you can say YES to, so that when you say NO they will listen."

Quadmama said...

Very smart old man, Glitzen!

maryanne said...

Having the coat on at all is a huge victory in my book! I would actually be thrilled for Emma to put hers on backwards so that she couldn't take it off herself. I can't tell you how many times she has carried her coat for hours (because I force her to bring it), refusing to put it on in spite of frigid temperatures.

Quadmama said...

The victory was exactly why I let her wear it backwards... it was on... that's all the mattered at that point!

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