I had a parenting epiphany today. There was a fit, some rude words, a lot of stomping and door slamming, most of it not by me. I sent a little girl to her room, where she refused to stay, storming out to yell more. Desperate for more effective punishment and unwilling to retract today's playdate (which would only punish her friend and, let's be honest, me) I took away Baby. She sleeps with Baby, and doesn't really sleep without Baby. Amateur move, but don't worry, I turned it around.
It still took another threat to actually get her to stay in there and calm down. Then I had to figure out how I could give Baby back without capitulating. The mother-daughter wars are tactical, even at this phase. Then I stumbled upon a win-win for me: give her the option to earn back Baby with extra chores. She has the power to determine her fate, I get to return Baby without having given in to a six-year-old, and I get my windows washed.
I told her she needed to wash all the kitchen windows she could reach. Because there were only fingerprint and face marks on the ones she could reach anyway, this was not an incomplete task. She did them all. Happily. And then proceeded to ask if she could clean the rest of the windows she could reach. I agreed.
It was the best possible outcome: I won, but she doesn't know that.