I've always lovingly referred to her as "independent," but I've come to realize that she is by far the most strong-willed of my four daughters. My experience in raising children amounts to a hill of beans when dealing with my youngest. What in the world was the point of raising my older kids if nothing I learned works with my baby? My usual arsenal of weapons, such as the stern look and the mean teacher's voice, are useless. Forget about time-outs or counting to one two THREE! She is so strong-willed that I made the mistake of Googling "oppositional," which led to my discovering "oppositional defiance disorder," which resulted in the subsequent taking to my bed in a state of despair.
My daughter is definitely oppositional, but after much reading about ODD, I am convinced that she does not suffer from that particular disorder. She's a contrary little thing, to be sure, but she's not hostile or violent or mean. She likes to be the boss, to control the situation, to make sure things are done her way or the highway, but she doesn't throw tantrums, freak out (too much) at her sisters, or deliberately hurt our pets. I'm not sure exactly where she gets her independent streak, but I'm starting to have my suspicions. The other day, I caught myself snatching something out of my husband's hands while snapping, "I can do it myself!"
I realized that I am oppositional. Er, I mean strong-willed. Or is it independent? Whatever it is, I am it. My daughter seems to have inherited that particular trait from me. On one hand, I am very distressed about this revelation; on the other, I am relieved. When I see her pitching a fit, I am pierced through the heart at how childish my own argumentative nature must seem. At the same time, I now have better insight into her frustration and irritability when others try to tell her how to do things or, Heaven forbid, refuse her demands to let her do them by herself!
I don't know if she will learn from the mistakes I've made over the years because of my oppositional independent ways—that would involve actually listening to and valuing what her old fogey mother has to say, and that's not likely to happen until she's a grown adult with a strong-willed child of her own—but at least I know how to start praying for her. And myself. Patience, unconditional love, wisdom, and humility. Oh, and patience.
Dinner last night: chicken-veggie soup, cheese-garlic bread
Exactly one year ago:
Exactly two years ago: