Miss Fanny (4) has been my most strong-willed four-year old ever. Each of my four year olds have required a personalized system of discipline. Some behaved with just The Look. Some behaved after some episodes of time out (though my 11 year old swears a time out is cruel and unusual punishment, and she would have preferred a quick swat to the rear "because it's over quicker, and you get the message"). But nothing has worked with Fanny. She'd taken to coming out of bed at all hours and throwing tantrums, waking the household. She'd cry "I want mama!" but she would keep up the refrain even when she got Mama, and had her right there. Nothing consoled her. She was just mad it was night time when she wanted to play.
After a few weeks of this, Bronwyn (3) began copying Fanny's showdowns. Obviously faked, but perfectly mimicked, right down to the squint of the eyes and the tilt of the frown. She arose three nights in a row, *right* after I had finally gotten Fanny calm and in bed and asleep. On the third night Fanny was still awake when Brownyn started her 2 am show. I pointed out to Fanny that Bronwyn was copying her. That she was the big sister, that Bronwyn adored her, and wanted to be just like her... and she was the one teaching Bronwyn to do this. I told her I needed her to help show Bronwyn how to behave in a nice way, but instead she was showing Bronwyn how to be a brat.
Since that speech, wonder of wonders, Miss Fanny has been angelic, even at night time. She even started using the words Please and Thank You, when in the past she has professed she cannot use those words. She now calls them happy words.
Every night before my girls go to bed, I pray with each of them, asking them what they are thankful for, for that day. Last night when I asked Bronwyn what she wanted to pray, she said "that I sleep at dark time, and that I wake up at morning". Last night I had the first uninterrupted night of sleep in ages. Bliss.
Now I completely understand the phrase "Will wonders ever cease"?
I wonder how long it will last? I will worry about that tomorrow, for tomorrow is another day. Right now I will just be THANKFUL. :)