Wednesday, November 3, 2010

FireGirl's Moment of Defiance Last Night...

... resulted in me, for the very first time, saying "That's it! You're going straight to bed!"

Background: the furnace in our home is not yet up & running. Thus far we've been able to heat the house with a wood-burning fireplace, but with temperatures continuing to drop, we purchased an electric heater to help warm the bedrooms at night, which are on the opposite end of the house as the fireplace.
Yes, the electric heater we bought has all the latest & greatest safety features, including broad-based legs to prevent tip-over, a tip-over sensor which turns the heater off if it does get knocked over, and a cool-touch surface.
But... we want to teach FireGirl that you don't touch heaters, because you can get burned. Because we know that at some point in time she will be at someone's house who doesn't have a cool-touch heater.

Last night, FireMan caught FireGirl reaching towards the electric heater. He very sternly told her "No!", and explained that she could get an owie if she touched a heater.

Fast forward about an hour. FireGirl & I are going thru our bedtime routine of putting toys away (interspersed with her deciding she wants to play with them). Usually before bedtime we also read one book before saying goodnight.

As we carry some toys back into her bedroom, FireGirl stops at the heater. She leans towards it. I say "No, no. Don't touch."
She stops. Looks me in the eye. Still looking at me, she reaches down and places her flat hand on the front of the heater.
I drop what I'm carrying, pull her hands off of the heater, lightly smack the hand she touched the heater with, and carry her the few steps into her bedroom, while saying "That's it! It's night-night time!"
She's already crying as I shut the door behind me.

I realize I can't just leave it at that. Seriously. The light's still on. She doesn't have her lovey (cries of "Tuuuuttteeeelllllllll!" are now coming from her room), and she's just standing at the door upset. I go get Mr. Turtle. Walk back down the hall to her room, and knock on the door before opening it. I hand her Mr. Turtle, announce that's it's time for bed, and point at her bed.
She obediently walks to her bed & climbs in.
I tell her no story tonight.
I call FireMan in to kiss her good night. He does so.
I sit at her bedside to say our prayers, kiss her on the forehead, and tell her goodnight.
As I walk out of the room I turn off the light, say "I love you PunkinButt" and close the door.

It's only 15 minutes before her regular bedtime.

And no, the toys did not all get picked up.

But... I think she got the picture.

Until this morning.

That's right. She touched the heater again. Defiantly. In that you're-not-gonna-tell-me-what-I-can-or-can't-do sort of way that only a toddler can pull off.
I tell her "No!", explain again about how she can get a bad owie if she touches heaters, and order her to sit in the living room and wait for me.
She looks me in the eye, says "no" and turns to go in her room.
I pick her up and carry her into the living room, placing her in the chair. She starts crying. I hold her there. She wrestles against me.
FireGirl finally stops fighting me, but keeps crying. She holds her arms out to me, and I embrace her. We talk again about the potential owies of electric heaters. I tell her I'm not trying to be mean, I just don't want her to get hurt.
I ask her if she's going to touch the heater again. She responds with a quiet "no". I ask her if she's ever ever ever gonna touch a heater again. She says "nu uh", very quietly.
I say okay and let her out of my lap, but ask her to sit in the chair. She complies.

I get this new defiance, this new independence, this testing of boundaries. I get it. She's two. It's what two-year-olds do. It helps them define their world and define their selves.
But I worry. I worry that she will do something just to defy us, and end up injuring herself.

I worry.

1 comment:

Candace said...

Thus the plight of a momma... I am with you friend. Grace is very much at that stage, and I completely DREAD Jack getting to it. I have a feeling that my sweet smiling boy will be my sweet sneaky boy by 2 years old! :)

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