Ellie is quite spirited these days. In fun places too, like the library and the mall. There have even been a few (gasp) tantrums! Loud, embarrasing ones.
For example, here is an account of what happened at the mall the other day. I should mention that before all this happened we had read lots of books at the bookstore, played on those damn little motorized things (you know what I mean, the little trains and animals that are like .50 a ride, I hate those things. HATE!), went to McDonalds for lunch (where we had a plain cheeseburger, apples, and milk, thankyouverymuch), and played at the Disney store. Also, we were on our way to the indoor play area to play SOME MORE. All I had done for me was return a dress that didn't fit at H&M. So anyway, this was the conversation...
Me: Ellie, why don't you get in your stroller so we can get to the play area faster. You can eat the rest of your apples on the way.
Ellie: NO! I WANT TO PUSH THE STROLLER!
Me: Oh, let's take a little ride so we can get there really fast!
Ellie: I SAY NO MAMA! I WALK AND PUSH STROLLER!
Me: (stooping down to her level trying to remain calm and optimistic and talking in a calm soothing voice) Ellie, mommy does not like that voice you are using. It hurts my ears and is unacceptable. Do you hear me?
Ellie: (now laying on the floor crying loudly) I WANT TO WALK!
Some PerfectMom in line at the pretzel place talking to her 4ish year old son: Someone needs a nap (and looks pointedly at Ellie)
Uh, mind your own business Prada and keep feeding your brat nitrates and Red Dye 40!
Well now it is a matter of her minding me when I tell her to do something. It is not about walking or riding in the stroller, it is about minding her mother. If she had remained calm, I probably would have let her walk to the play area (even though it was at the complete other end of the mall). It was the yelling that got her the timeout in the stroller.
Me: Ok, that's it. In you go. Little girls who throw fits need to calm down in the stroller for a bit. (and I scoop her up and put her in the stroller and wheel her to a corner for 2 minutes.)
Ellie: Mommy, you are MEAN!
Me: (Pause, stunned, heartbroken, teary. I knew there would come a day where she would say this and I know there is worse to come, but I was unprepared) Oh honey, I am not mean. I am a good mommy and I love you and I need to teach you the right way to act.
Ellie: (taken aback by the tears in my eyes) You a good mommy. You not mean. We go play now?
And that was that. After her 2 minutes, we went to the play area (with her in her stroller!!) and played. I did talk to her on the way home about nice words and hurtful words. I am not sure how much she got but I felt better. This parenting thing is getting harder. Almost a week later, I am still sad when I think about it. I want to still be her hero, not some meanie who won't let her do things.
I should mention that all tantrums (and there aren't that many, she is a good girl) are not handled quite that well by me. This particular tantrum, I had just eaten, was properly caffeinated and therefore equipped to handle her little episode with my June Cleaver side.