Monday, April 4, 2011

Unstoppable Force and Immovable Object

J said something to me recently that stopped me in my tracks. Yet again, LO was proving to be somewhat reluctant to leave the wonder that is consciousness for the refreshing embrace of the Sandman, and lay mewling/crying/screaming in his swing. I had soothed him to quiet and sat down at the computer to attempt to do SOMEthing productive when the child began making his "I'm unhappy and I want everyone to know" noises again. I sighed and turned up his go-to-sleep-for-heaven's-sake music a notch or two. J looked from me to LO and from LO to me and remarked, "You two are really going to be butting heads, aren't you?"

Oy vei. Well, perhaps.

Here's the thing, we stubborn individuals rarely see ourselves as being particularly stubborn. It's like that scene in When Harry Met Sally, when Billy Crystal tells Meg Ryan she is the worst kind of woman because she is high maintenance, but she thinks she's low maintenance. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

It's not that I'm stubborn. It's that I'm right. There's a subtle distinction between the two that is lost on most people (that being the other 99.999999999999999999999% of the population who is not me). After having been told by pretty much everyone I've ever encountered that I am the most stubborn individual alive, I have come to the conclusion that I am the common denominator in each of these conversations. Apparently, other people do not view the world like I do. Those poor, poor lost souls.

My stubbornness (I give it the popular label because starting any sentence out with the words "my knack of always being right" is not a good way to win friends. See, I can learn and change!) In any case, my stubbornness caused a great deal of trouble when I was a child, and my parents refused to see the rightness of my course of action, whether that be staying up until all hours of the night at 8 years old or eating Tasty Kakes for dinner. Major head butting would ensue. My father just recently told me of an incident that I had apparently forgotten. As a four year old, I felt I knew better than he did what an appropriate bathing schedule would be and refused to take a bath. I folded my arms and dug in my heels. My dad picked me up and put me in the bath fully clothed. Foiled by my relative size!

"I've never seen anyone before or since as angry as you were," he said, probably while wiping away tears of mirth over my battles with LO over sleep. Yet another reason why it's so enjoyable being a grandparent--they do say that revenge is a dish best served cold.

I got a little older, and found positive outlets for my stubbornness. Apparently, if you know a little something about one of the core content areas, they'll give you upwards of 30 students at a time to be bossy to on a daily basis. Being able to say "The bell doesn't dismiss you; I dismiss you!" five times a day is like crack for the terminally stubborn. What a high it was to be able to boss my students around. And I got to feel like I was performing a noble service by teaching at the same time. Heaven!

Frankly, I believe part of the reason why J has been so wildly popular with my family (there has been talk about keeping him if ever he and I were to split) is because he doesn't put up with any guff from me. I found the one man not cowed by my stubbornness and married him. I don't know what this says about him, but I know I've never been one to back away from a challenge.

Unfortunately, this means that together we have engendered someone who can give me a run for my money. This hard-headed munchkin will probably fold his arms and dig in his heels, too, once he's conquered the whole standing bit. J has already started selling tickets to friends and family for the future clashes. (I think he's going to enjoy this almost as much as the grandparents.) If you'd care to make a wager, I have the better odds, but I suspect that LO is a scrapper.

(For what it's worth, J is laying his money on our son, who will have youth on his side.)

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