Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh the cleverness

Sabrina really is a smart one. This is actually a problem as she can totally manipulate me. But she doesn't quite get that I have 28 more years of experience being smart than she has. And I was just like her at her age.

I got Sabrina to put on clean clothes this morning. How, I'm actually not sure, since I didn't even get to my planned "you may not watch Diego until you put on clean clothes." Though we didn't get to watch Diego for other reasons. HOWEVER, she put on dirty socks over her tights. This should not have been the cause of a major power struggle, but I never know where to draw the line: if I ask her to do something, she screams "NO," and then I don't make her do it, does she learn that screaming "NO" gets her out of whatever it is? So this morning I pushed the socks. And only really because of this...

I noticed she was wearing the blue socks she wore yesterday, so I said something along the lines of "you picked out white socks, so please take the blue socks off and put the white socks on." She went right to her room and came back...with the white socks on over the blue socks. I said "you're still wearing the blue socks. I need you to take the blue socks off because they are dirty." She didn't do it and things went downhill from there. She tried pushing her blue socks down and hiding them under the white socks, but the white socks were ankle socks and the blue socks knee socks, so that didn't work. After some back-and-forth involving her sitting on her knees so that I couldn't see her feet, she agreed to go to her room and take off the blue socks. She was in her room for a while, so I wondered what she was up to. My first thought? I decided she was taking her tights off and putting the blue socks on underneath the tights so I couldn't see them. Because that is totally what I would have done when I was four and someone told me that I couldn't wear the socks that I had already put on. It turned out that actually she was just putting on a THIRD pair of socks over her tights. She wouldn't let me touch her socks, she smacked me (hard) on the cheek, I made her sit on her bed (which, I am ashamed to admit, involved me yelling at her) and take her shoes and socks off, and finally she was wearing only one clean pair of socks over her tights.

(The socks were only one struggle out of four this morning; the other three were all health/safety related but were much less interesting. She wouldn't take her inhaler even though she is the one who said she needed to take it, she insisted that she carry her (hot) bowl of oatmeal to the dining room table, and she wouldn't let me tighten her seat belt. Then after all that, we got stuck in rush hour traffic on the way to school. Sigh.)


  1. One of my first lessons during pre-licensing training was "You will end up yelling at your foster kids at some point. You will end up screaming at some of them. Don't worry about it."

    And they were right. So don't worry. In fact, I think you are being way more patient than I could!

  2. of course you yelled at her, you are human and and she smacked you.

  3. Don't beat yourself up over the yelling - I've had that reaction to being slapped before myself!

    I would say though, that in a similar situation, I would probably ignore the (not so) subtle disobeying. Honestly, save your energy for things that are actual vital to your/her safety and health. Who knows why she's trying to wear dirty socks? But IMHO, its not worth the fight. If she screams no, just follow through with your consequence (no Diego, whatever works) and move on with the morning. There are just too many things that we can't MAKE children do (at least, without holding them down and removing their socks ourselves, which rarely works out well). So, getting into a power struggle over those things are just exhausting.