Yesterday after school the weather was lovely, as a lot of this winter has been. I let Janey play in the driveway for a while, after closing the gate at the end of it (we live RIGHT on a main road) and she ran around happily for a few minutes. Then, suddenly, she got the urge her father is so often struck with, for Chinese food. She came up to me and said "Chinese rice!" which is fried rice. She grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the gate. I said "No, Janey, not tonight. When Daddy gets home from his trip on Friday" And she screamed, and pulled at the gate. I held her hand and started firmly trying to direct her inside, but she pulled her hand away and said "NO! Chinese RICE!" and kept trying to open the gate, having decided I guess to just go get the rice on her own at the restaurant down the block. I finally had to pick her up, which took every ounce of strength I had, and bring her inside, and still, it took her a while to calm down.
So what's the good? I don't think Janey has ever before defied me in quite such a way. She's gotten furious when I said no, she's continued to ask for something for hours, but this felt different. It felt like she was saying NO to me, saying "I'm NOT going to do what you say" instead of just getting upset she wasn't getting what she wanted. Before, I think she's thought asking is just a way to get that person to do what you want, and when I said no, she didn't really get I was making a decision---it was more like the cosmos or whatever was just not providing what it was supposed to. But this felt like she knew I was saying no, and she realized enough that she had a will of her own and opinions of her own that were different than mine that she decided to just tell ME no. I might be over-reading into this, but something felt different, and I was actually pleased about that.
However---the bad. It was very, very hard getting Janey into the house. She's up over 50 pounds now, and I can't lift her easily at all. In a few more months, I think I won't be able to at all. If she makes up her mind she isn't going someplace I want her to go, or if she wants to go someplace I say no to, it's going to be physically impossible for me to stop her by picking her up. That's very, very scary to me. Reasoning with her is not going to work, a lot of the time. She is starting to realize that when we hold hands, it doesn't lock her hand in there. This is a stage all kids go through, I think, but most do it when they are in their early 2s (and my boys didn't do it for very long at all---they were not ever as adventurous as Janey), and at that age, you can still just pick them up. What am I going to do when I can't do that with Janey? I really have no idea. I feel like right now, we are being as careful as it's possible to be to make sure she doesn't run off or get hurt, but we will have to be even more so, and so will everyone else dealing with Janey. I can only hope that with her increased awareness of herself vs. others, she also gets some increased awareness of danger. Boy, do I hope that.