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Rio had a very spirited day, by which I mean challenging, unhappy and somewhat violent. I take full responsibility for this: we’ve been going out all day almost every day since her birthday a week ago, and for the past day or two its been obvious she needed a break. Even to her; she’s been asking to stay home and have a “down day” where we do nothing alone together. But I pushed it because I had ‘important’ errands to do, people to see, etc. And today we paid the price in tantrums. To my credit, I never lost my cool, raised my voice or said an unkind word to her.

I also did something I have never done before, which was refuse to nurse her because she deliberately hurt my body. When she was at her peak of anger she dug all her fingernails into my chest and dragged them down my skin, leaving a trail of scratches. It hurt a lot. A few minutes later it was still hurting when she wanted to nurse. I surprised even myself by saying, “No, I don’t share my body with people who hurt me like that.” I’m sure it was the right call. I’m sure not all my gentle readers will agree, and I don’t fully understand *why* I said that, or *why* it was right, but it was true.

When she realized I meant it she ran upstairs like a flash of angry lightning and slammed a door. Silence followed. I went upstairs to look for her and she was nowhere to be found. Eventually I realized that she’d gone into my bedroom and dived headfirst under the comforter. The blanket looked a little mussed, but really there was a small girl fast asleep, submerged in down. I let her be.

She woke up later, had another big tantrum, and when she eventually calmed down we had a long cuddle in the rocker. We talked about how hard it is for her sometimes to feel tired and do too many fun things. We made some silly jokes about the things she likes or does not like. She invited me to eat her “no” all up, and I mimed chewing all that angry “no” energy. A few minutes later, she said no to something I asked her to do, and I laughed and said, “You can’t say no! I ate your no all up!”

And Rio, dead serious, said, “I had an extra No! I had it all along! I can always say no!”

Me, “Where did you keep it?”

Rio, pointing to her chest, “In my spirit. In a secret room, behind a locked door locked with a key so you can never take it. I keep my yes in there too. So I can always say yes and I can always say no.”

Me, “Yay! You can be your own authority!”

She then told me that she keeps a picture of me and a movie of Daddy in her secret room in her spirit, so we are always with her.

I’ve been feeling a little remiss in her spiritual education to date, but now I think my work here is done.

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