Saturday, August 22, 2009

stubborn streak

Kailey has a bit of a stubborn streak (hmmm.... wherever did she get that from? Her father and I are so flexible and willing to jump through unnecessary hoops just because someone else asked us to). Ok, duh, genes. But, Kai inherited the stubborn genes in a double dose, I think. The only time Kai gets really upset, as in temper-tantrum, throw herself on the ground screaming and crying, is when we ask her to do something just to prove that she knows what we mean. I'm talking about signing. Baby signs! I totally see the value in them, and get why it would be nice if Kai would take to signing to tell us what she wants. However, Kai does not agree. She doesn't really see the point. She has developed a whole system of telling us what she wants. For example, if she wants to go outside, she runs to the front door (or the back door) and shakes the handle. If she wants to read a book, she grabs a book and crawls in your lap. If she wants to eat, she runs to the fridge. If she wants milk, she runs to the fridge and points up at the bottles on top of the fridge.

Once she has indicated what she wants, we usually respond. For example, if she is at the fridge, pointing at the bottles, "do you want milk?" we ask, and do the sign at the same time and Kai nods yes and turns and points at the bottles again (and sometimes comes and gives us a big hug -- I guess for figuring out what she wants). If you take it a step further (which we almost always do) and say, "Kai, say milk" while making the sign again, she gets pissed. She frantically points to the bottle again and we make the sign and say, "you can have it, say milk". At that point, usually Kailey will throw herself on the ground wailing.

Could it be she just doesn't know the sign? It could be. But, it's not. The last couple of days, I decided to quiz Kai on the few signs we do frequently first thing in the morning, when she doesn't really want any thing and she is in her best mood. This morning I said, "Kai, can you say water?" and she held her hand up to her mouth. "Can you say milk?" and she squeezed her hand. "Can you say more?" and she tapped her hands together. I asked her to say "water" again and she looked at me with that look - "didn't we already cover this mother?" I could hear her thinking. She grabbed a book and turned away from me, done with the quiz. She hates being quizzed. But, she knows the signs. I knew she did.

So, after our quiz - we went into the kitchen and I said, "Kai, do you want water, milk or juice?" signing each of the options. She ran to the fridge and pointed at the bottles and then came back and gave me a big hug. Sigh. I said, "Kai, which one?" signing and saying all three again. She looked at the signs, the dreaded signs, and threw herself on the ground. I got her some water and asked her if water was what she wanted, handing it to her. She looked at the water, and gave it back to me, and pointed at the bottles. I told her to sign milk and, practically glaring at me and so quick I would barely notice it if I wasn't really looking, she squeezed her hand one time and shot me another look. I'll take it, "that's right!! Good girl!" and I got her the milk. Stubborn child.

On some level, I understand her resistance. She knows that we know what she wants. In her mind, the communication loop is complete. She has indicated, by running to the fridge and pointing, and we have confirmed, by saying "do you want milk?" What more is there to say? (as an aside, even when we don't say, "do you want milk?" but just say, "what do you want?" she knows we know what she means -- she just points at the bottles again and looks at us like we're idiots, since we've been through this a million times before). I just never thought a one year old would be so stubborn about just saying the word when she clearly knows it! I guess there's no further proof needed - she's our kid.

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