Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dandelions as Weapons of Mass Emotion

I had a few free minutes, and it was a nice afternoon. I asked the kiddo if she wanted to take a walk, and she excitedly said "yes". We were in front of the next-door neighbor's house when she spotted some late summer dandelions, all white and fuzzy and perfect for a dandelion fight. Yes. You read that right. A dandelion fight. The kiddo and I started having dandelion fights when they were plentiful in the spring. The objective is simple: cover the other person in white fuzzies and avoid getting any on yourself. (True story: I once went to the gym and had an instructor ask "What is that?" as she pulled fuzzies out of my hair. I didn't even know they were there.)

Today, the kiddo was delighted by the chance to play what has become one of her favorite games. She raced into the neighbor's yard and grabbed a handful of dandelions. Not to be outdone, I grabbed one she had missed. Well, that did it. The kiddo smashed her fuzzy dandelions into my shirt, then squealed and ran away. So I did the only natural thing--I chased her with my lone dandelion. Fun, fun, until the kiddo started screaming that she didn't want dandelions on her. Um, hello, that's part of the game. She raised such a fuss with her whining and screaming that I decided our walk was off. I headed toward our house, informed her we weren't walking, and told her to go inside. Of course, she resisted and screamed "I want to go for a walk!" (I'm sure there was foot stomping and hands placed on hips, but I was too annoyed to notice.) I held out my hand--the underlying message was that if she took it, we would walk calmly into the house together, but I was ready to grab her if necessary. Guess what? I had to grab her. As I reached for her arm, she hit me. Uh oh. That's not nice. She repeated that she wanted to go for a walk, but this time she was even more agitated. I calmly replied that I, too, wanted to go for a walk, but not with a kiddo who was acting so rudely. Crying, screaming, slamming ensued, and the kiddo was banished to her room.

Why did this happen? I'm guessing pure exhaustion. 1st Grade is a lot more tiring than Kindergarten, and the kiddo is often worn out when she gets home. There is a lot more work--the evidence arrives home every day in her backpack. However, I don't think it's acceptable to use that as an excuse for bad behavior. This is an example of how sometimes it's necessary to give up something (in this case, a walk) in order to make a good  parenting choice. Am I annoyed that I had to give up my chance for a nice walk? Of course. Could I let the kiddo get away with her bad behavior? No way.

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