Tuesday, August 21, 2007


It's her new favorite word.

She's like a little explorer putting down flags, waiting to see if any natives will come out and fight her claim... Like my mom said, laying claim to territory, and then looking up at us to see if we will question or fight her...

Of course, what I want to do is give her every little thing her heart desires. She can have it all! But in reality, she can't, and setting the boundaries and telling her no and then waiting out the consequent temper tantrum is what I have to do.

Last night, Jos was infuriated that I wouldn't let her push her new baby stroller into a busy street. "MINE!" she screamed, clawing the air toward the street, which was apparently, in her view, "MINE!". At one point she was rolling around like a nutter on the gravel, wailing in hysterics. No amount of cajoling, distraction techniques (I must have been quite a site, trying to do dances there), or strictness could move her (and me with belly and dog and two strollers didn't have the physical strength to fight her).

Also lately she doesn't like her clothes being taken off, because those are also "MINE!"
She'll bundle up a dirty shirt or dress and cling to it for a while, daring me to attempt an extraction.

Sometimes, but not very often, I do give in. Sometimes what is "MINE!" really IS hers. And sometimes, like with the baby seal she had tucked under her arm like a football the other day at Big Lots, three dollars vs. an in-store meltdown was an easy call (the seal is now officially "MINE!").

It's emotionally exhausting, but I am full of compassion when my daughter is screaming, distraught and angry, because I know this is part of the process of coming to terms with what it means to be a human being. It's something we're all still working on, at one level or another. And there's plenty of dictators and thieves and other adults out there who never learned the boundaries of what is Mine and what is definitely someone else's. So it's a serious lesson for me, in more ways than one, to confront this toddler's rage, and to see elements of my own.

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