tenacious [adj.]: persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired
We knew Maddie loved gum. But I had no idea how obsessed she would become with chewing it. She started asking for it all the time. I mean all. the. time. No amount of written emphasis could be added enough to convey how much she requested the stuff. Let me give you an example.
My friend, Jenae, and her adorable baby, Eli, came over one afternoon to rehearse a song we were singing for an upcoming Relief Society event. During the course of the hour and a half that we sang and visited and sang some more, Maddie asked no less than 20 times if she could chew gum. I don’t believe this is a literary exaggeration. The girl asked, “Can I have some gum?” like a record skips when it’s scratched. And now I’ve just dated myself.
I had to take some drastic measures. Previously in the week, I’d told her that gum could only be chewed on Wednesdays and Sundays. Random days pulled from thin air, I know, but I thought it would spread the treat out a bit. I reminded her of that rule and hoped it would at least quiet her for the moment. That reasoning appeased her for some time, but I knew I couldn’t stave off her requests for long.
By the next day, she was back in full force. Her “Can I have some gum, please?” (the intentional injection of good manners used in hopes of swaying Mom’s decision with kindness) followed by my quick, “No, Maddie,” followed just as quickly by her next, “Can I have some gum, please?” was starting to make me a little batty. Let’s just say I was not my best self that afternoon.
So, I cut her off completely. Cold turkey. NO MORE GUM. Ever. Until she’s four! That’s the new rule. Period. End of discussion.
It took a few more attempts and persistent requests from this stubborn, strong-willed girl before she realized I wasn’t going to budge, but it finally sunk in and she stopped asking.
“I can’t have gum until I’m four?” she asked in her adorable little voice. “Nope,” I answered. Repeated about five times.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t you just let her have a piece of gum when she first asked so sweetly? Because she only chews it for a few minutes and then wants to spit it out. And once the chewed gum hits the garbage can, she promptly turns around and asks for another piece of gum. Repeatedly. Like again and again and again despite me telling her that she just had a piece and we only chew one piece a day otherwise you burn through Mama’s gum supply.
Tenacity is a good characteristic. It will help her accomplish hard things throughout her life. But sometimes I wish she didn’t have to practice on me.