We fell into a trap last night. Once again, I was forced to try and negotiate with a two-year-old. That almost never goes well.
Vivian has proven to be one of the most stubborn child I’ve ever dealt with. Not that I had to deal with many. After she had eaten just three shrimps and a couple of tortellini, she got out of her chair and ambled off. While she perked up at the mention of brownies (or, as she says, “cake?”), she showed no interest in eating any more of her dinner. Erin and I, concerned that Vivian hadn’t eaten enough, asked and then demanded that she eat her remaining shrimp before she could have any cake.
Well, Vivian could probably single-handedly re-negotiate our softwood lumber deal with the United States, let me tell you. We got down to asking if she would eat just three shrimp, and then just one shrimp, before she had a cake, but she was not interested, and not going to budge for anything. The conversation quickly became strained.
Us: Vivian will you eat one more shrimp?
Vivian: No! Cake?
Us: No, Vivian. You have to eat one more shrimp before you have cake. Now will you eat one more shrimp.
Vivian: No! Cake?
Us: No! One shrimp, Vivian.
Vivian: One cake?
And so on. We took this to the limit, and as a result we had a Pyrrhic victory. I’m pleased to say that we did not bend: Vivian did not get any cake that night. But our nerves were just about shattered.
We somehow have to avoid this ultimatum business, because then Vivian refuses to bend, and then it becomes important that we don’t bend, and the whole thing becomes an epic struggle for the control of our family. And that doesn’t do anybody any good.
As for Vivian, she functioned perfectly well without cake, and indeed without any additional supper. For the past few days, she’s not been eating nearly as much as we’re used to, and perhaps we should take this into account. I figure if Vivian were actually hungry, she’d be asking for more food. It’s odd, though: perhaps she’s between growth spurts?
The good news is that Vivian’s confidence is increasing, even as she remains quite fragile after having her neatly ordered world thrown amok with the arrival of baby sister Nora. Today, at Early Years, I noticed that Vivian was confidently using the playground slide on her own. This was something that she was afraid to do in the past, but now she takes it on like a pro. I’ve included photographic evidence.
There are many things that Vivian is afraid to do, or is frustrated about because she does NOT like to fail. But I’m looking forward to seeing her grow into herself, as she realizes that there are no limits to what is possible, if she’d just allow herself to risk to try.
Walking with Nora’s Stroller
Playing at Early Years
Using the Slide