Monday, January 12, 2009


"Even as infants they are incredibly determined and strong. They push where other kids don't push. They demand more than other kids demand. And they never give up.It is impossible to ignore them or distract them."

Sound familiar? Sound like a certain little someone whose name begins with A?

Tonight my cousin Bob Slicker was in town, a surprise visit. Wonderful visit, although too short. We went out to dinner. Angelina was distracted by the mini ATM machine in the corner - she thought it was a game. Only she couldn't reach. She kept insisting on having the high chair - this from the child who refuses to sit in one. Took me awhile to figure it out: she wanted to use the high chair to climb up to reach the ATM buttons...

I said NO, she went back. I said NO again, she went back. She walked away with me for awhile. As soon as I let my guard down, she sprinted over and tried again. Papa said No. And again and again and again. After lord knows how long, I stood back, just to see what she'd do. I could see her from a distance, but she didn't know I was watching. She tried climbing up. With no one to stop her, she pushed herself further. But she couldn't quite do it. She climbed back down and walked over to the table.

And that was that.

Now, normally I stick to NO means NO. And I never did say Yes, I just ignored her for a few minutes. After all her persistence, she tried it, it didn't work - or maybe it just wasn't fun if Maman wasn't standing there telling her NO.

Persistence can be a good thing. When I was about 12, my diving coach said to me that while another diver might be able to learn a dive in 10 tries, she'd stop at 8, whereas it might take me 20 but I'd go to 25. And that's why I'd always be a better diver. Persistence. I see it in Frederic, as he works on a project. So she gets it from both sides.

Alas, in a 2.5 year old, persistence = challenge and stress for Maman and Papa. So how to harness it? We need to learn when to say Yes, and save the Nos for when it really matters. Teach her that persistence is a good thing when you're trying to reach a goal, but not if that goal is convincing Maman you should have ANOTHER chocolate.

And thanks Bob, for visiting us.

And that picture is the famous "chocolate fridge", also used to store wine, but at 2.5 all she cares about is the dark stuff...when she couldn't open it, she pulled a chair over to stand on so she could reach the keys. She didn't know exactly where they were (hidden behind the picture frame) but she was feeling around everywhere for them.

If you look closely at that picture, you can see she still has a chocolate ball in her mouth as she's trying to get more.

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