A Battle of the Wills, Plus Santa

Yesterday I was doing the mombligation* of taking Zoey to the mall to get her picture taken with Santa. I did her hair, stuffed her legs into tights, and coaxed her into her Christmas dress. Then I suggested she put put on a sweater. And, in turn, Zoey let me know that I was perhaps asking a tad bit too much of her. As in she threw herself on the floor, rolled back and forth, clawed at her own face, and shrieked, “Nonononononon!” Loosely interpreted this means, No, I don’t think I will put on a sweater but thanks for asking. Even though I was clearly right and had a factual and well reasoned argument, i.e. – it was 37 degrees outside, her dress is sleeveless, she would be cold if she didn’t put on a sweater, the Battle of the Sweater escalated. There was biting and drooling and kicking. Oh, and did I mention THE SCREAMING?

20 minutes later I had used my amazing mom powers (wrestling moves, bribery, weight advantage) and Zoey was wearing a coat. But now Zoey and I were standing 3 feet apart in the garage — we both had our hands on our hips and we were both glaring at each other with narrowed eyes. Oh, and one of us was STILL SCREAMING. The other of us was pointing firmly and saying repeatedly, “GET. IN. THE. CAR.” And once in a while, through gritted teeth, I would throw in a “We. Are. Going. To. See. Santa. It’s Going. To. Be. FUN.” for variety’s sake. Shockingly, Zoey did not climb into the car. No. no. Instead, I attempted to put her in the car seat while she clung on to the door frame and continued with THE SCREAMING. Plus, she alternated arching her back with going completely limp** which kills me. After an especially well placed kick to my boob, I eased Zoey down on to the floor of the car, shut the door, and walked to the end of the driveway to ‘take a moment’. As I got to the end of the driveway the screaming stopped. A head full of curls popped up in the back window. She saw me pacing and breathing. And I can only think that she assumed I was leaving her, like, forEVER because the screaming started again. But at a whole new level and pitch. One that brought our neighbor running out of his garage to ask “Where is she? Is she Ok?” He even used hand gestures. Large hand gestures.
I picked up The Screamer, who was now clinging to me instead of attempting to injure me. We cuddled for 10 minutes. I assured her I would never leave her. And then, I PUT HER IN THE CAR SEAT. That’s right, her butt was strapped in to the car seat. It would have felt a lot more victorious if Zoey hadn’t still be sniveling.
So we met The Grandparents at the mall. And Zoey wouldn’t even look at them. She just wanted to be held by me. My parents had never seen Zoey like this before and my Dad (Hi Dad! I love you!), who is easily alarmed about Zoey’s general welfare, was, uh, very alarmed. He kept saying super helpful comments like, “Golly, you must of really abused her.” Or, “Gee, you must of really hurt her feelings.” Sometimes he would change it up and ask a question: “Huh. What do you think you did to her?” It was super fun. Then, when I told him to shut it, he said, “I’m not being critical, I’m just saying what happened. I don’t think you did anything wrong.” Um . . . yeah. But he also treated us to lunch so it worked out OK.
Then, we tried to see Santa. Zoey clung to me like a life preserver in a raging storm. She would not even look at Santa. When Santa gently touched her hand it was like she had been burned. Even when Santa sang Elmo’s theme song she wasn’t fooled. So we grabbed a free coloring book and left. And I have to admit, I was a little proud. If my daughter doesn’t want to sit on an oddly dressed, heavily bearded, stranger’s lap, well . . . good for her. But if she doesn’t want to bend to my will and put on a sweater or get in the car seat, well now, that’s a different story.

*Term invented by the genius SWMama
** Note to the 5 people I know who are preggers right now: This is THE WORST thing EVER.
A holiday picture taken at home

7 thoughts on “A Battle of the Wills, Plus Santa

  1. Niki

    >Zozo looks much happier sitting on Demetri's old chair than on some weirdo's lap anyway!!! What a gorgeous dress. We need to get the girls together in their Christmas dresses for a photo!!!

  2. SWMama

    >This post made me laugh out loud several times. I love the image of you two in a face-off in the garage. Also, F has just started arching her back on me when she's pissed and I CAN'T STAND IT. Ugh. Sounds like you managed the situation as best as possible. I think she'll be fine. Until adolescence breaks her. šŸ™‚

  3. ErinM

    >Oh, my dad makes helpful comments like that, too. So does my father-in-law. Men think they're hilarious!!! But they manage to get back in my good graces by being adorable grandpas.Anyway, back to the Santa visit. Seriously– who in their right mind would bring their child to sit on some strange man's knee and take pictures of it? Oh, right– I would. I think we're attempting it this week.

  4. Anonymous

    >Joslyne – Sounds like you and Zoey communicated with one another. Through your actions, you let her know that your feelings get hurt when she pushes your buttons. Through her actions, Zoey let you know that your love and companionship is more important to her than winning a battle of wills.As for your father, as annoyed as we all get when our parents question our parenting, we would not want it any other way, right? We are all looking out for our toddler's best interest, and any input and discussion is valuable, even if it hurts our feelings.I don't like it when Niki criticizes what I do with Charlie Jo ("DO NOT TAKE CHARLIE ON THAT WATERSLIDE!"), but as humiliating as it is, I accept it – it's better for Charlie that Niki question me than stay quiet.Love,Corey

  5. Tara M

    >I just found your site from a post you had on a friend's site–this is great! I have a 7 month old and he's been arching his back in baby-tantrums (usually when he doesn't want to go to bed or wants to comfort nurse) since he was 2 weeks old! I wonder what I have in store for me as he gets older…anyway, it is sweet that your girl was clinging to you–even if it was perhaps because she was afraid of losing you.


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