Janey brings me the remote. I know perfectly well what she wants. She wants to watch "Pools, Parks and Picnics", an episode on Netflix featuring Kipper, her favorite little British dog from way back. However, I want her to ask me. So I pretend I don't know. I say "What do you want?" She just smiles and keeps trying to hand me the remote. I try hard to resist. I say "When you tell me what you want, I'll put it on". She stops smiling, and looks upset. I try to go on with my morning. The boys need to talk to me, need to eat breakfast, need lunches, need just plain time with me to talk. Tony has things he needs to discuss. The cats are meowing for food. And Janey follows me around with the remote. She is getting more upset. I try to hold out. It's important to have her talk, to say verbally what she wants. I try giving her a template "You want to watch...." She starts crying. I know the morning is about to be lost. If she gets upset, that's it. We don't get her back for a long, long time. Freddy has been waiting to talk to me. William needs a uniform shirt that is clean. I am aching for coffee. I give in a little more. "Which Kipper do you want?". She says "KIPPER!" The morning is falling apart. I finally say "Do you want 'Pools, Parks and Picnics?'" She echoes "POOLS PARKS AND PICNICS" I put it on, and turn to the rest of the demands.
That's theory vs. practice. In theory, I should hold out. I should wait for Janey to ask me, as she CAN do, as she has in the past. I should say things like "I know you're frustrated, but you need to tell me what you want" In theory, she will see my point and do that. In practice, she will tantrum the rest of the morning, and the boys and Tony will yet again be ignored. I often follow the theory. I believe in it. I do my best to hold to it. But in practice, Janey doesn't live in a vacuum. My boys need me too, my husband needs me, and I need to stay sane.
Janey is watching her Kipper show. I've only had to stop three times during this writing to get her things she needs, things that she by the way asked very nicely for "I want oyster crackers! I want water! I want change my pullup!" We are all fairly happy. There is no lesson here.