Like water on stone

Firebelly, hydrant,
You pour continuously
Even when all you’re doing is
Lying around with your blanket and your thumb;
The feet are poking around, you’re wiggling,
Your eyes are intense, your will pulses out like an aura.

Like Japan in Truman’s eyes,
You won’t ever give up the fight.
If I say it’s naptime
If I say use the potty
If I say I don’t want to
If I say I like bananas
You’ll contradict with great force
Until hours and days and years have run by.

Not always, of course.
Sometimes you speak so politely and pleasantly
Sometimes you tolerate and adjust to things you don’t initially like

Sometimes you
Dance and sing and talk and color and play and laugh
Sometimes you
Do those things as fervently as you contradict me.

This morning when I took you out of the shower
And I said you would have a timeout
(You didn’t put down the toy when I said it was time)
You said no and I said yes
And you hit me
And you know that hitting earns another timeout
And I told you that, again, too
And you hit me again
And eventually you racked up twelve timeouts in a row.

(How I needed that twenty-four minutes.)

And when you can’t hit
(If I’m out of reach)
Or instead of hitting sometimes
You spit
And spit
And spit

Sometimes you spit instead of saying no

Patience, respect, gentle firmness, compassion,
I tell myself again and again
Advance notice
Consistent consequence
Pick my battles
Remember to relax and play sometimes…

And you wear me out sometimes, little girl

I love you, but sometimes you wear me out.

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