Number 7 is the baby of the family.
Here she is on her first day of preschool when she was not quite three years old yet.
Super cute, right?
Being the baby of the family, she (as many youngest kids often do) has a way of working her magic on people and getting what she wants.
My tendency to give in is partially due to her cuteness factor and partially due to the fact that by the time she came into the world, I was just plain worn down and out of energy.
Because Number 7 is also incredibly determined.
This determination is a blessing — I think — but boy is it also a major challenge sometimes.
Because the determination applies to everything.
If there is something out of reach, she will find a way to reach it.
If there is something she wants, she will find a way to get it.
Or die trying.
Number 7 is older now.
And she’s the kid that you love to hang out with because she’s up for anything and she’s tough and she’s ballsy but she’s also the kid who frustrates the hell out of you because if she has decided something should happen, then she is not going to give in until it happens or she passes out from exhaustion.
And I have allowed this to affect many of my decisions when it comes to her.
Because when things don’t go her way, she does not back down.
Like Number 4 when she was younger, Number 7 has been known to fly into some Helen-Keller-Losing-Her-Shit rage-filled moments.
And I gotta admit, at the end of the day, it’s hard to for me to keep my cool when those moments make an appearance.
It was especially hard a few years ago when Number 7 was younger.
Now that she’s older, these incidents are happening less often.
Partially because she’s getting older and we’ve been working on ways to diffuse them.
But also partially because I’m more aware of when I’m contributing to them.
Number 7 is doing a triathlon camp every day along with Number 5 and 6.
But yesterday Number 5 and 6 had their yearly physical (at the same time on the same day because they also share a birthday one year apart).
So Number 7 was the only one who went to camp yesterday.
After the doctor’s appointment, I stopped home to make some lunch for everyone, and then I went to pick Number 7 up from camp.
The you-better-get-some-gas light was on in the car, so we stopped at the gas station on the way home. The gas station is maybe one mile from camp.
Number 7 asked me seven times if she could get a “treat” at the gas station in the ninety seconds it took us to get there.
Because she was starving.
Every time she asked, I told her we’d be home soon (we live 5 minutes from camp) and there was plenty of food at home.
When we got to the gas station, we both got out of the car and went inside to pay the attendant.
Number 7 picked up four different “snacks” while we were inside.
We were inside for approximately 33 seconds.
“Can I have this, Mom?” she asked, not backing down.
“IT’S REALLY SMALL!”
“No, sorry,” I told her that time and the next three times she asked for something different.
And as we walked out, she said, “I DON’T LIKE YOU.”
It was not easy to stay strong.
Not because she told me she didn’t like me.
I hear that a lot. From more than one of the kids.
But it was in the gas station I realized — again — how I easily am swayed toward giving in to Number 7 just in order to avoid the possibility of the freak out.
The freak outs are exhausting.
And sometimes I just don’t wanna endure them.
But what I so easily forget in the moment is that giving in only strengthens the length and intensity of the next freak out.
And I am conditioning my daughter to never be disappointed in the process.
Especially when I head off the disappointment at the pass.
So I didn’t give in.
And Number 7 didn’t die of starvation.
She was disappointed for about three minutes.
Then she got over it.
She didn’t used to rein herself in so quickly.
So maybe I don’t give in as often as I used to and maybe we are both learning and growing.
And we will both continue to learn and grow.
But even when she’s forty it’s gonna still be hard for me.
Cause she’s always gonna be my spirited, persistent, and boundary-pushing baby.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way.