…says “Want some plums?” five times, and each time I answer, “Yes, Daddy’s getting you some,” and she continues to reach for the bag they’re in… and when I’m not looking, her reaching knocks them over onto the floor.
…repeats things over and over when upset — during a timeout, when she doesn’t get the answer she wants, when she’s cranky (i.e. even when the answer IS what she wants). She can’t listen when she’s doing that — nothing can be done to help.
…can have a solid conversation about what you can do when you’re upset, frustrated, or angry, but is rarely able to keep herself from hitting, kicking, and scattering / throwing things.
…invites me to play cooking with her with the kitchen set and table in her room. She brings me a bowl of yogurt, a wooden skittle cookie in a cup, a plate of grapes, and a bottle of milk. After she prays, I start to pretend to drink, and she says No! Not yet! And can’t explain why. I explain that it’s okay — that I can eat my things the way I want, and she can eat hers the way she wants. She can’t even listen to me — just No! No! I eat my cookie, and grapes, and the same reaction. Nothing I do is acceptable to her.
I had to tell her I wasn’t enjoying playing this way, and I went to do something else. She was upset about that, too, of course.
I have to keep trusting Brazelton, Leach, other parents, my own intuitions — it won’t be like this forever; she WILL learn more impulse-control, her emotional and psychological maturity will catch up to her verbal ability — she’s NOT doomed to be a bully or an outcast or anything.
Edited to add:
It’s 9:33, an hour and a half after bedtime. Right now she’s lying in bed (I think) talking to herself, which I don’t mind too much. But every single night, she gets out of bed and plays with toys or stands under the drapes looking out the window. Sometimes seconds after we say goodnight and leave the room.
It’s not like she’s doing anything terrible, and it doesn’t SEEM to be making her crankier in the daytimes.
And yet! It’s just pure and utter willfulness — we want her in bed, and she knows that; we don’t mind if she talks and sings but don’t want her up playing or standing by the window, and she knows that; she runs and gets back in bed when she hears us coming to tell her to; she just doesn’t care.
And that’s kind of maddening.
But it’s not the hill I want to die on.