Reading and posting these entries from 30 years ago is a humbling experience. I feel guilty about how hard I was on Anne, how unreasonable my expectations were. I am going to post Anne’s essay on her blanket, written for graduate school in international affairs, so you will know how the story eventually turned out. My other daughters had a far better mother than Anne did; they should be grateful to her for teaching me what battles are worth fighting.
How are my new rules working? Anne dressed herself, but only because she had insisted putting on the clothes she selected for today before she went to bed. She requested oatmeal for breakfast because John had it and then age about 3 spoonfuls. Just as we were leaving, she hit me and I yelled at her. She cried and insisted on taking her bear and blanket to the playground. Then I made the classic mistake and laid down a rule without thinking. I said, “You can’t take the blanket outside. It’s only for naps. You get it too dirty dragging it everywhere.” I closed the apartment door, and she continued to cry. Finally, Anne said, “I need my blanket because it will make me feel better.” I was touched and admitted I had made a mistake. She could have her blanket when she wanted to. She could be the blanket boss. The only reason I didn’t want her to have the blanket is because I feel embarrassed she is still so attached to it. Far better if I had thought things through before I stated an ultimatum, then revoked it. Such inconsistency teaches her that crying and carrying on works.