If you've survived the toddler years, if you're in the toddler years... then you need one. A backbone. A certain amount of "you are absolutely too short and have too poor of a vocabulary to control me" kind of attitude. I joke that when I'm older and the kids have gone to college, I should think about becoming a hostage negotiator because some days it feels like I negotiate with short terrorists every day! I don't have the alpha attitude every morning, but mostly... you absolutely have to for your very survival.
Most people who know me understand that I really dislike confrontation. I'd rather disappear than deal with explosive, negative, volotile situations. I've always been (honestly) passive-aggressive with hostile people, usually by never letting them know how outrageous and immature I think they are. I cut out people that I perceive to be a threat. I'm not quick with words and refuse to enter into shouting matches. It's not that I want everybody to just love each other and get along, but I want a fair playing field, one without cutting words, power plays, manipulation, intimidation, etc... and then I had kids. I love my kids alot. And thankfully, God is giving me the backbone to push back and shape their hearts... even when there are demands and screaming and tantrums. I love them too much to let them be uncontrolled, and God loves me too much to not strengthen my backbone.
Funny how life plays out occassionally. I was working in recovery room the other day. We had a particular patient that was really making life hard for the staff. He was fully recovered, very demanding and rude. Downright mean. Fortunately, he wasn't my patient. Unfortunately for him, I was in an anti-terrorism mood. I was bending down beside the bed of my patient to measure some urine from the catheter when I hear BANG BANG BANG BANG. I looked up to see a 30-ish year old guy two feet from me with his cup in hand, banging it on his tray table. Worse yet, he was looking right at me. I studied his face. Was he nauseous? Perhaps confused? Non-verbal? And then I saw his eyes narrow, and he glared at me and BANGBANGBANGed the cup again. And my toddler-mom brain said, "Oh, no you don't! I DID NOT come all the way to work to deal with THIS!" I suddenly felt filled with power of a mom that's survived 5 long years of pecking, nagging, and demands, and I fully engaged this hostile man. I imagine that he, too, saw my eyes narrow as I leaned towards him. Without as much as a smile I said, "Do you need something?" BANGBANGBANG went the cup. "You need to use your words. I asked you a question. (more slowly and with a slight growl) Do you need something?" And slowly he dropped his gaze. "Water." I put my hand on the cup and decided to negotiate my final demand... "Water what?"