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What I Meant Was . . .

Yesterday afternoon Cora and I were
heading to school to pick Maddie up. Cora was walking, and I was
pulling a wagon loaded with water bottles, two scooters, and two
helmets. After half a block Cora said, “Mommy, I want to ride
in the wagon.”

Cora climbed in, crammed into an uncomfortable corner because of
all the gear. She took a few sips of her water, then said,
“Mommy, when I said ‘ride in the wagon’, what I
meant was ‘get my water’.” And then she climbed
back out.

Cora has an overwhelming need to win (don’t know where she
gets that) and has a terrible time admitting she’s wrong
(ditto). This has led her to her newest strategy, entitled
“What I Meant Was . . .”

Let’s say Cora will demand a cookie.
I’ll say no. She’ll say yes. I’ll say no.
She’ll say, Just one. I’ll say no. This will continue,
with Cora getting steadily more frustrated. At some point
she’ll run away, giving herself a break before she explodes
into screaming and throwing things. Then there will be calmness and
quiet. Then I will hear, “Mommy, when I asked for a cookie,
what I mean was, some peanut-butter crackers.”

Yes, my child will paint herself into a corner with no way out
except to accept my “no”, but she will refuse to accept
that “no” and actually re-paint the entire room just so
it doesn’t look as if she’s stuck in that corner.

A cookie? How on earth could you think I was asking for a cookie?
Well, no wonder you said no! But now that you see the truth,
you’ll realize you were wrong and change to a
“yes”! It’s what any reasonable person would do!

I generally give in to her updated requests. She cleverly chooses
something I’m pretty much guaranteed to say “yes”
to, just so she can hear that word come out of my mouth, and
I’m happy to oblige so she can see I’m not a monster
who says “no” for the fun of it.

Hopefully this a phase she’ll outgrow soon – I
don’t relish this tactic being used around her 16th


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