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You Can't Make Me Be Polite!

Cora’s hit a recent patch of
stubbornness – ok, not so recent, since I can’t recall
a time when she WASN’T stubborn – and it’s become
a battle of wills over –of all things – manners.

When Cora and Maddie want to be finished with a meal, we ask them
to say, “May I be excused please?” and wait for an
assenting reply before getting down. Or, in Cora’s case,
being unsnapped from the high chair. This is not a big deal, and
something Maddie does with very little reminder now. Cora,
similarly, was well programmed and saying it quite neatly for a
while now.

I say “was” because
Cora’s decided to put her foot down and assert her
independence, and this one line has become Cora’s line in the
sand. When she’s finished with a meal, she’ll now say,
“Get me down now!” and look at me imperiously.

I, of course, do not get her down, but prompt: “May I be
excused please?”

“Get me down now!”

“May I be excused please?”

“No! Get me down now!”

Last night this went on for a good fifteen minutes, Cora growing
increasingly agitated and thrashing about in her seat and crying. I
was clearly torturing her by refusing to ignore her bad manners and
lift her out of her high chair as requested – no, demanded.

I always win the battle, of course, because I’m bigger than
Cora and can still outlast her. But it does wear down the soul, and
I know I won’t always have the patience or even the time to
let this thing run its course. I don’t understand this new
phase, since Cora’s quite polite in other interactions, but
there’s a definite deliberate choice to demand rather than
ask going on.

Not so long after dinner last night, Cora was walking up the stairs
with a grown-up and said, “I need you to hold my hand
now!” to the grown-up. I corrected, saying, “Can you
hold my hand, please?” And Cora counter-offered with,
“I need you to hold my hand, please!”

Believe me, the adjustment was subtle, but it was deliberate. And
if I’m being truthful, I let it slide. I’d just sat in
a dining chair for fifteen minutes and was in no mood to sit on the
stairs for another fifteen.

So I guess, now that I look back on the day, Cora and I tied
yesterday. And she’s got youth on her side. Crap.


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