My eight year old daughter is a bright, little girl. She can be so charming, lovable, and amazing -- but boy oh boy, can she be persuasive. Rarely, do I feel like I say no to her and she rolls with it. Flexible is not her middle name. I often hear myself saying to her "assess the situation" before she asks something of me. Her requests are usually reasonable ones so we have both learned how to navigate and negotiate, but this last one turned into a bit of a battle. She came to me fifteen minutes before bedtime with a bottle of fuchsia hair dye and said, “Can you please dye my hair?”.
I took a deep breath before responding. I was not going to color her hair, but I could tell by the look in her eye this was not going to go away easy. I explained that coloring her hair is fine but not at this time of night. She begged, she pleaded, and when those didn't work she began to state her case. She would wake up with no issue, she has already done everything else that needed to get done. She would read while the color sat in her hair, she would make the shower part super fast. Her testimony went on and on. I calmly restated my answer. I explained that my answer wasn't going to change and so she had a decision to make: she could choose to be upset for the rest of the time she had with me before bed, or calm down and enjoy our time together.
For the next twenty two minutes she tried to keep me hostage while I listen to her beg. She was hysterical. At one point I escaped with my head spinning and sent this text to my husband who was out ("Wow she is hysterically screaming. I've tried for a very long time to calm her, or negotiate or asked her to stop asking me and she is repeating "mama." This is what she did when she was 4. I got up and walked out. I am sure the neighbors are about to call Child Protective Services on us. So much for asking them to be a bit quieter at night.") As I pressed send on this, I realized that it was so ridiculously humorous, but neither my daughter or myself felt that in the moment.
The fit continued for roughly 15 more minutes, but the kicker was when I returned to her room and tried to rub her back, because that is what she had turned to me, she wouldn't stop crying. I offered some breathing suggestions and then asked if there was anything I could do that would help her calm down. What was I thinking? She sat up faced me and yelled "DYE MY HAIR." Apparently I must have missed it the 500 other times she asked earlier. That was it for me. I was done. That's what I got for saying, “Not tonight, but we can some other time."