Strong-Willed Child?

So I blame it on L’s name. S blames it on me. I used to be in denial but I think deep down we have known since the day she came swimming out (literally), L was going to be strong-willed. Who am I fooling? This is the child who went over a month opting not to go to a single park because she wanted to sleep with her mamãe in Egypt. She knows how to push and when she hits the limit, she knows how to just keep pushing, testing, and trying.

It is only Tuesday and we already feel like we should be at the end of the week.  This weekend was rough. Really, really rough. By Sunday night, S and I were totally exhausted and even the wine tasted bitter. We had an entire day of tempers. S got up early with L and I was just about to get out of bed when I heard the first temper rev up. Cue: Stay in bed.

We were on the edge all morning and it was pouring rain outside. By late afternoon, for our own sanity, S and I had to get out of the apartment and we thought we had brought L back down off the cliff. We loaded up and went out for a coffee and a hot chocolate. Two happy cappuccinos and a hot chocolate later, we thought we could end the day with a lovely start to the week.

The only mistake we made was not spiking it while we had the chance. No sooner than we finished, L was at it again in the middle of the street. S and I prayed for a torrential downpour. Instead we just got looks from passers-by as we tried to pretend she wasn’t our child.

Yesterday wasn’t much better and neither was today. L’s voice is hoarse from her new screaming tactics. The doorman calls her “menina chorona” (crying girl).

S and I had high hopes that we might be able to ask the woman who cleans to watch L so we could go to the Arab film festival this week, but L ensured today that won’t be happening. First she threw a tantrum because I asked her to pick up her spoon. Then because I wouldn’t allow her to watch TV after she hit me. She ran around screaming “I. Wanna. Watch. TV!”, which the cleaning woman said sounded like “Nao bate em mim” (Don’t hit me). She warned me that the police could very well just show up at my door and ask what I am doing to my child.

Awesome.

Part of this is L’s personality. Part of it must be our not giving her clear signals or choosing the wrong battles. Part of it, I am sure, is her not having a lot of consistency over the past few months. Most of it is her being age 2, almost 3. (Google told me last night if your child has multiple tempers per day BEFORE age 1 or AFTER age 4 to seek professional help. Apparently, there are three SOL years in there just for us.)

So in the meantime we try to fill in the gaps. Be firm. Be clear. Be respectful. Find her a school/daycare so she can have kid friends and be challenged like she is used to being challenged. I have three appointments to visit programs this week. Hopefully, by next week we will have some place where she can go and start to figure out for herself what her life really is like here.  To make Rio her home.

It is fun to play little people and she has a Kayla, grandma, grandpa, Lucy, Max, Benjamin, Audrey, Jessie, Benson, Luna, and Tio Shaun, but they really aren’t the same thing as having friends here.

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