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.
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