I’m starting to realize that the days when I feel like a total Rockstar Mommy are often the days when I have to do the least amount of actual parenting.
Fortunately for me, Sweet William is giving me a lot of opportunities to flex my Mommy muscles these days. I’m dropping into bed at night feeling as mean as Joan Crawford on a tequila bender, but oh…the parental wisdom I’m gaining.
In fact, just this week I’ve learned so many valuable lessons. Like, exactly how fast I can run in my high heeled boots. And how to get sharpie marker off of upholstery. Or how many toys actually fit into the box we use for possession purgatory, a.k.a. the “Gobble Box.” And my personal favorite, how to dismantle a locked bedroom door using a crowbar and a sledge hammer. (I don’t make this stuff up. Really. I don’t.)
All the parenting books will tell you that my 3 year old is “asserting his independence.” Which is true, of course. But it feels more like some medieval form of messing with my head. For instance, the other day I asked my sweet boy if he would like to go to his all time favorite place on the planet…Shopko*. He was exuberant in is affirmative reply.
“Great!’ says I. “Go and get your shoes off of that chair.” And so it begins. He can’t get the shoes. He won’t get the shoes. He forgot to get the shoes, he was distracted by something shiny on the way to the shoes, and then finally he emerges wearing shoes…but they are flip flops and it is practically snowing outside. So finally I just go get the damn shoes, and then we have a temper tantrum of monumental proportions because HE WANTED TO GET THEM. .
Fourty five minutes later when we finally make it to the car, we do the same dance over getting into his car seat. And putting on his seatbelt. And, naturally, keeping the freaking shoes on his feet.
*Shopko has an entire section of Thomas the Train stuff. Enough said.
I know that anyone reading this right now is probably wondering why I don’t just pull the plug on the Shopko trip altogether. Right? You were being a tiny bit critical of my parenting just now…admit it. But here’s the deal. I really NEED to go to Shopko. At this point, I have been trying to go there for 4 days, and each day after a frighteningly similar scenario I have nixed it . I have used my best mom voice to say, “Aw, that’s too bad. I guess maybe tomorrow you’ll remember that if we make poor choices/dilly dally/don’t cooperate with Mommy we don’t get to go do fun things.” But now the situation is desperate. If we don’t go to Shopko I won’t have anything in the diaper family to wrap around his obstinate little bottom at bedtime. And since he decided - after 6 weeks of being 100% potty-trained - that he now can’t make it through the night with dry pants (Which is totally normal for a 3 year old, right? Totally normal?) pull-ups are not optional at this point. I have to go to Shopko.
It’s maddening. And I have tried a million different tactics ranging from trickery to bribery to get him to come willingly along. But I’m no match for him. The other day he was almost in tears because he had to pee so badly, but then he held it for an additional 20 minutes while he threw a fit about whether or not I would spin a toy top for him BEFORE he got on the potty. I offered to spin that top like a madwoman the entire time he sat on the John, but he narrowed his eyes to evil little slits and said, “You spin the top or I am NOT going to go pee pee.” He’s like a tiny villain with a hostage. It’s constant negotiation. And you can’t give in to that crap! Can you? CAN YOU? I find myself holding my ground about the most ridiculous of things lately.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me that my children’s stubbornness will serve them well when they are older. They won’t be pressured into trying things they don’t want to do. They won’t be bullied or pushed around. But I’m not entirely convinced it will work in my favor. What if they just end up being the kids doing the bullying and pressuring? Sweet Pea could talk her way out of a grand jury indictment. And Will is already answering to “Frank the Tank.”
I see this ending badly.
But then again, sometimes I don’t.