Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. On Raising Willful Children

 

I am a bit stubborn, when I want to be. Just a bit. Like the way water is a bit wet or the sun is a bit hot.

My wife is a bit stubborn too, when she decides to be. And now we have kids. Twin girls.

These kids could teach stubborn to mules. They’re a bit willful at times. Just a bit.

I’m not complaining, mind you. Being stubborn is a positive character trait in my book, as long as one is stubborn about the right things. Like staying alive.

The twins were born eight weeks early by emergency c-section. Considering the doctors had considered delivering them five weeks before that, to the point of giving them steroids to help their lungs develop, we were happy to make it to the 32nd week of the pregnancy. The weather that night wasn’t good, with a major snowstorm on the way. Normally the predictions for snow here in NC are overblown, but this storm was for real. The doctors were debating moving us to the downtown hospital with the larger NICU since our twins would bring the one here close to capacity, and with the weather they were worried about staffing. But with my wife’s blood pressure continuing to climb, it became a moot point. The delivery had to be done right away. The surgery room was prepped, an extra incubator was brought in, and the procedure began.

When Baby A was delivered I heard a weak cry, then she was quickly handed off to the NICU team. Several nurses were huddled around her incubator, and there was intense but quiet discussion. Resisting the urge to find out what was happening, I waited quietly and made sure not to distract them. A minute later, Baby B was out and crying. Only one nurse worked at her incubator, the rest remained with Baby A. After what seemed like an eternity later, there was a sigh of relief and a nurse told me that Baby A was breathing fine. We had two names picked out, but hadn’t decided which one was which. I told my wife, who was still getting stitched up, that Baby A had picked which of the names was hers. She was Faith.

Later, the nurse practitioner in charge that night told me what happened. She said it was the scariest delivery she’s ever done. After that one cry, Faith had stopped breathing. They were trying (unsuccessfully) to get a tube in her throat when her heart stopped too. The crash cart that would normally be in the room had been removed to make room for the second incubator and there was no time to bring it back. As they were rolling it out, the NP had picked up a syringe of epinephrine and dropped it in her pocket just in case. That syringe saved Faith’s life.

Despite her dramatic entrance into the world, Faith recovered quickly and was able to leave the NICU only one day after her sister. Four and a half years later, she still has a flair for the dramatic and gives a whole new meaning to the word “willful.” Not that I mind. Well, I do mind sometimes, like when she refuses to apologize to her sister or mother or me or admit in any way that she was wrong, ever, but I remind myself that that same willfulness is what get her through to today.

Stubborn children are a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we don’t have to worry that they’ll ever give in to peer pressure. No one is going to force them to do something stupid if they don’t want to do it. The challenge is to teach them not to want to do anything stupid. Some of their willful behavior now is just the normal toddler resistance to being told what to do, just turned up to eleven. Picking the right battles is essential, as is winning the battles we pick. That’s where our stubbornness comes in handy. The verdict is still out on who’s more willful, us or them, but there’s no doubt we all are pretty darn stubborn. Just a bit anyway.

There are 23 comments.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I’m so glad they came through okay! A beautiful story, too. May I ask the other twin’s name?

    • #1
    • August 1, 2018, at 9:47 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Gary Robbins Reagan

    A wonderful story.

    As a stubborn child, I prefer the adjective “spirited.”

    • #2
    • August 1, 2018, at 9:53 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  3. Nick H Coolidge
    Nick H

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I’m so glad they came through okay! A beautiful story, too. May I ask the other twin’s name?

    Natalie. She’s not quite as willful as Faith, but sibling rivalry demands that she try. 

    • #3
    • August 1, 2018, at 11:29 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  4. PHCheese Member

    You have some wonderful parenting years ahead. They go in a flash. Take advantage of every minute. It’s a heck of a ride.

    • #4
    • August 1, 2018, at 12:44 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Have to agree with PHCheese. Childhood seems eternal, and then wham! They’re grown! A lovely story, Nick. 

    • #5
    • August 1, 2018, at 12:47 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. RightAngles Member

    Oh it’s all fun and games till they come home from school one day when they’re 15 and announce they are a vegan.

    • #6
    • August 1, 2018, at 2:12 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  7. Guruforhire Member

    My toddler is apparently convinced that an even larger foot stomp is going to convince me of the rightness of her demands.

    Its so freakin adorable.

    • #7
    • August 1, 2018, at 4:38 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  8. EODmom Coolidge

    Made me weepy….. I love their names. Treasure them. You are wondrously blessed. 

    • #8
    • August 1, 2018, at 4:50 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Arahant Member

    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under our brand spanking new and shiny theme of Will. If you have thought on the subject of Will, whether some definition of the word or someone with the name, why not mosey on over to our schedule and sign-up sheet and pick out a date to share your ideas and stories?

    • #9
    • August 1, 2018, at 5:21 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Annefy Member

    May you live long enough for the many blessings of seeing your daughters become mothers.

    My only daughter was more willful, stubborn and all around pain in the neck (also courageous and loyal to a fault) than her three brothers combined. And two of those brothers are Marines.

    She now has two daughters of her own and the oldest, at nearly 3, is giving her a run for her money.

    Getting that 3 year old to do something she doesn’t want to do is dang near impossible. As Granny, I have the benefit of only asking her to do things she wants to do, so I’ve got that going for me.

    • #10
    • August 1, 2018, at 5:28 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  11. barbara lydick Coolidge

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    My toddler is apparently convinced that an even larger foot stomp is going to convince me of the rightness of her demands.

    Its so freakin adorable.

    I can see just see that. With arms akimbo? How do you keep from cracking a smile?

    • #11
    • August 1, 2018, at 5:41 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. Sheila Johnson Member

    Wait til you get to thirteen! Things start spinning up around ten, and hit the summit at thirteen, or so I’m told. Once in high school, they hear from their peers about how silly they’re acting and tone it down. Or so I’m told. Good luck!

    • #12
    • August 1, 2018, at 5:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Guruforhire Member

    barbara lydick (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    My toddler is apparently convinced that an even larger foot stomp is going to convince me of the rightness of her demands.

    Its so freakin adorable.

    I can see just see that. With arms akimbo? How do you keep from cracking a smile?

    We get a special upgrade package while you are in prenatal.

    I am wondering just how high she can get that foot while stomping, now its a science experiment.

    • #13
    • August 1, 2018, at 6:11 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Doctor Robert Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Oh it’s all fun and games till they come home from school one day when they’re 15 and announce they are a vegan.

    My oldest daughter did that. Lasted less than a week.

    She did It again a month later. Lasted two weeks.

    Then she Took the Vows at 22 and has maintained for two years. Good for her.

    As for me, I am a dedicated member for PETA (people enjoying tasty animals).

    • #14
    • August 1, 2018, at 6:12 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  15. Jules PA Member

    Bless you and your family.

    Stubborn and all. As you say there is value in stubborn so long as parents teach children to choose the right things to be stubborn about.

    • #15
    • August 2, 2018, at 7:18 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Jules PA Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Oh it’s all fun and games till they come home from school one day when they’re 15 and announce they are a vegan.

    Great. More meat for us. LoLz.

    • #16
    • August 2, 2018, at 7:20 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Oh it’s all fun and games till they come home from school one day when they’re 15 and announce they are a vegan.

    Great. More meat for us. LoLz.

    Try eating meat when a fifteen year old talks about the feeling of the poor animal who was murdered for your pleasure.

    Also, look forward to speeches on how meat contributes to all of the 15 leading causes of death for adults, and when she points out how much weight Bill Clinton lost after he became to be a Vegan.

    The joys of parenthood.

    • #17
    • August 2, 2018, at 7:25 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. RightAngles Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Oh it’s all fun and games till they come home from school one day when they’re 15 and announce they are a vegan.

    Great. More meat for us. LoLz.

    Try eating meat when a fifteen year old talks about the feeling of the poor animal who was murdered for your pleasure.

    Also, look forward to speeches on how meat contributes to all of the 15 leading causes of death for adults, and when she points out how much weight Bill Clinton lost after he became to be a Vegan.

    The joys of parenthood.

    One of my sisters married a vegan, and from the start he promised never to try to shove that onto the children. They ended up having a boy and a girl, and one morning when they were age 4 and 7, they were eating bacon and he told them “You know you’re eating a dead pig.”

    • #18
    • August 2, 2018, at 7:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Gary Robbins Reagan

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Oh it’s all fun and games till they come home from school one day when they’re 15 and announce they are a vegan.

    Great. More meat for us. LoLz.

    Try eating meat when a fifteen year old talks about the feeling of the poor animal who was murdered for your pleasure.

    Also, look forward to speeches on how meat contributes to all of the 15 leading causes of death for adults, and when she points out how much weight Bill Clinton lost after he became to be a Vegan.

    The joys of parenthood.

    One of my sisters married a vegan, and from the start he promised never to try to shove that onto the children. They ended up having a boy and a girl, and one morning when they were age 4 and 7, they were eating bacon and he told them “You know you’re eating a dead pig.”

    That he held back for 7 years is truly remarkable.

    A favorite saying of Vegans and Vegetarians is that they don’t eat food that has a face or a mother.

    • #19
    • August 2, 2018, at 8:04 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Nick H Coolidge
    Nick H

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Oh it’s all fun and games till they come home from school one day when they’re 15 and announce they are a vegan.

    Great. More meat for us. LoLz.

    Try eating meat when a fifteen year old talks about the feeling of the poor animal who was murdered for your pleasure.

    Also, look forward to speeches on how meat contributes to all of the 15 leading causes of death for adults, and when she points out how much weight Bill Clinton lost after he became to be a Vegan.

    The joys of parenthood.

    I’ll have no problem doing that. I’ll cook a whole rasher of bacon in the oven and then wrap any uncooked bacon around some steaks and grill them up a bit, leaving them nice and red and juicy, and then do it all again at dinner. If they continue with the meat is murder nonsense I’ll buy live chickens just to have the freshest meat possible at meals. Did I mention I’m stubborn?

    • #20
    • August 2, 2018, at 8:18 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  21. Kay of MT Member

    Wait until your 2-3 year old ask you what will happen if he/she does something that is forbidden.

    I told her she was not allowed to do that, so she’s apt to get spanked. Her reply: Well, just don’t hit me too hard. And she went ahead and did it!

    • #21
    • August 2, 2018, at 8:48 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  22. Boss Mongo Member

    Excellent post, brother. 

    I was going to put up a vignette about Faith from John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising, but no matter how I craft the quote, I can’t reconcile a zombie apocalypse quote in a miraculous twin birth post.

    • #22
    • August 2, 2018, at 7:58 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. Nick H Coolidge
    Nick H

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Excellent post, brother.

    I was going to put up a vignette about Faith from John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising, but no matter how I craft the quote, I can’t reconcile a zombie apocalypse quote in a miraculous twin birth post.

    Heh. Something tells me that my Faith is really going to like that character when she is old enough to read the series. This is the girl that fell down some stairs when she was 13 months old. We could tell something was wrong, because even though she wasn’t crying she was just sitting very still afterwards and snuggling close to her mom. I looked at her and moved her arms and said that nothing was obviously broken and if she’d broken something like her collarbone she’d be screaming. So we took her to the Urgent Care and the doctor looked at her and moved her arms and said that nothing was obviously broken and if she’d broken something like her collarbone she’d be screaming. Oh, and she had an ear infection. But the doctor decided to do an X-ray anyway and sure enough she had a broken collarbone. She’s one tough kid.

    • #23
    • August 3, 2018, at 8:32 AM PDT
    • 7 likes

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