Every day the wonderful happens…

and I'm here to blog about it.

The Two Hardest Words February 7, 2011

Filed under: Matthew,the adjustment — Elizabeth @ 2:48 PM

We’ve had a breakthrough in the stubborn department.

You all know that I have quite the strong-willed child on my hand in Matthew.  I will be honest and say that as the realization of this part of his personality sunk in, I was devastated……and determined to beat him at his own game.  You don’t know stubborn, child, I thought.  I can outlast you any day.

After a few months, I realized that yes, he possesses a strong will, but that also, his controlling, is in part, an exercise in self-preservation.  His nice life turned on a dime when he joined our family and he wasn’t quite ready to trust his needs to us, his daily routine to us.  He certainly wasn’t ready to submit to our authority.  He feels the need to stay alert and on his game.  Any little change is fought.  Any request is railed against.

Matthew, the TV show is over, it’s time to get dressed.

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!  {Cue tantrum}

Matthew, wash your hands for dinner.

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!  {Cue tantrum}

Matthew, we are dying of dehydration in the desert.  Here is some water.

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!  {Cue tantrum}

Okay, fine, I made that last one up.

A few months ago, I wrote that I was trying to be patient and let him come along in his own time.  I wrote that I had given up dreams (for now) of hearing him answer me with a “yes ma’am” and instead learned to rejoice over hearing an “okay”.

We have learned not to ask him yes/no questions.  That’s just a booby-trap, because the answer will never be yes.

I do my best to walk away from the “NOOOOOO” because even as he is saying it and tantruming, some of the times, he is beginning to do the activity I asked of him.  He just feels the need to log official complaints as he does it.

I swallow down the reprimand that I want to issue to him for being so defiant.  It is hard.  It is like swallowing bile.  I do not exaggerate here.

Today he left his developmental preschool in a good mood.

He told me about his day.

He did not tantrum when I told him lunch was ready.

He had noodles (just like mommy).

After lunch, I asked him to go upstairs and put his shoes away.

Cue tantrum………except wait.  He went upstairs without objection.

He got his shoes off (okay, I helped him) and I asked him to go potty.  He started walking away, then paused in his doorway, looking back at me.

eh…..uh……yuh……muh……YES!  MA’AM!

And then he beamed at me.

My voice caught in my throat as I praised him and thanked him.  Because this mama knows that his “yes ma’am” didn’t just mean “yes ma’am”.

It meant “see?  I’m not arguing with you”.

It meant “I understand that you are the mama, and I am the child”.

It meant “I love you”.

(I love you, too)

It meant “I want to make you proud”.

(You already have)

(Thank you)

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12 Responses to “The Two Hardest Words”

  1. Lori Says:

    YAY MATTHEW!! AND YAY MOM!! What a wonderful, wonderful day!! 🙂

  2. Aunt JoAnn Says:

    I am so thrilled for you. I know this is a big deal, and I so remember how hard it was when my son was so so defiant. It sparked my own extremely defiant nature, which I know I had at that age. (As a 2-3 yr. old, I used to bang my head on the TV and/or hold my breath while turning blue) So I was very challenged to take on Mr. Defiant (Charlie) Then I re-read everything ever written on battles of wills, and went back to offering choices, using humor, and surrender. And,Matthew has the best reasons ever for his stubbornness, as you pointed out! He gets a big break for his courage to trust, and he is coming around besides! That has a lot to do with your patience..Can’t wait to meet him someday…

  3. Abby Says:

    I am so proud of him. Every time I read your blog, I want to hug the boys so badly it hurts. Give them a hug from Aunt Abby and tell them I love them.

  4. Joanna Says:

    Yay Matthew and Mama!! That last exchange gave me a lump in my throat.

  5. Yvonne Says:

    awesome. and totally wonderful – for both of you.

  6. deb jacobs Says:

    that brought tears to my eyes. you are blessed with perserverance=)

  7. Grace Says:

    awwww! tears in my eyes, elizabeth!!! and i’m just beaming for matthew 🙂 way to go, little guy!

    p.s. cracked up at your tiger mom comment today! heehee!

  8. Elizabeth Says:

    Oh, Elizabeth… I can’t write a comment that matches the magnitude of this post. Big, happy hugs to you and the rest of the family! 🙂

  9. Kelly Says:

    Such great news! Love. Love this.

  10. Kala Says:

    Oh what a wonderful moment!! Yay for progress!

  11. Sue Says:

    yes, ma’am…the wonderful truly does happen every day!!! thanks for sharing this little slice of your wonderful day. big smiles for you and matthew!!


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