You know your day is long if you are spending a majority of it praying to the ‘napping gods’ that your very contrary three year old will take an afternoon snooze. T.Puzzle is on the dreaded cusp of outgrowing his nap altogether. It’s not such a bad thing on days we are on the go and everyone is in a good mood. On the days when despite all appearances (crazy running, yelling and jumping), T.Puzzle’s little body needs recovery time post-surgery; a nap can be a much needed thing. In addition to the health benefits it also should hopefully improve his mood as it seems he woke up on the oppositional defiant side of his bed this morning.
Apparently, ‘No!’ and ‘I not!’ can never be overused in his wiseguy opinion.
Thank god he’s asleep right now. At least if he’s sleeping he ain’t talking and therein lies the real beauty of a napping child.
I don’t like to be the kind of Mom who fears living her life because the behavior of her child is so unpredictable. For better or worse I have always pushed forward even if I knew tantrums and embarrassment could be imminent. I have never had a period in my life that we stopped taking the boys to restaurants or on other public outings only to sit at home for months and months trying to out-wait their tantrum-prone/defiant phase. My boys are just too active to sit it out. I have to keep going. I admit, this second time around (as in raising little T.Puzzle), it’s harder and harder to find the motivation to keep doing so.
I decided to give myself a break of sorts and didn’t take little T.Puzzle on any outings during the day. That is rather hard with a super-active, super-inquisitive little man to keep entertained all day. Eventually by day’s end, I knew I had to take him outside to do something. I landed on going to the park after we picked up big brother Full Speed from school.
As we pulled in the parking lot I told Little T.Puzzle what my expectations were. “You have to listen to Mommy at all times. If Full Speed needs to use the potty, you come with us immediately. If you decide not to listen you will lose many privileges for the evening. You will sleep alone (he loves to have big brother Full Speed sleep in his room with him), you will go to bed right after showers and there will be no treat and no tv show.”
They played for maybe ten minutes when big brother Full Speed announces he needs to use the bathroom. Little T.Puzzle ignores me when I tell him to come with us and proceeds to laugh at me because he know I can’t reach him. At least this time Full Speed was more prepared to potty on his own so it wasn’t as disastrous as it had been in the past (see ‘I’m Stunned’).
I somehow manage to get little T.Puzzle down from his safe haven of the top of the slide and I dropped the hammer. He went to his room when we got home until dinner was served. He went straight to bed alone after showers and he didn’t even have the privilege of a bedtime story. There were tears and angst (mostly my own) and little T.Puzzle screamed like a banshee at times, too (super-fun).
Motherhood is hard on the days when you question everything. Is my child beyond behavioral repair? What am I doing wrong? Why can’t my child listen to me? Why do even attempts at fun outings lead to disaster?
I guess that’s why love is such a powerful emotion. It trumps everything thank goodness; even the question-filled unlikable days of motherhood.
Mad Dog surprised the family and came home early enough that we could all go to dinner. We picked the boys up and headed to eat pizza outside. Little T.Puzzle was feeling the unfortunate need to continuously test his limits and by the time dinner was over, Mad Dog had certainly reached his own kind of limit.
T.Puzzle was being difficult and wouldn’t get in the car. He kept locking his legs and simply refused to sit nicely in his car seat. In frustration Mad Dog says to him, “Do you want to go to Box Seats or do you want to go home and go to bed?”
T.Puzzle sticks out a defiant chin and replies, “I want to go home and go to bed.”
Yeah, right! My children and their stubborn streak never cease to amaze and baffle me.
I magnanimously offer to take little T.Puzzle home as I will gladly bypass the sports bar, video car-racing experience. However, both Mad Dog and T.Puzzle relent.
All I know is that if Mad Dog had asked me, I would have chosen to go home and stuck with it.
Do you ever have one of those motherhood moments where you actually can’t believe you are doing what you are doing? For instance, I couldn’t believe this morning that I was fighting with little T.Puzzle over him not wanting to eat his McDonald’s pancakes. Why, you may ask yourself, am I attempting to force my son to eat something that contains little to zero nutritional value? Broccoli, sure but pancakes, really?
It all has to do with trying to make a point. Little T.Puzzle is so adamantly entrenched in the ‘no- I never’ stage, that I can’t let much slip past me. If he says ‘no!’ to wearing a Cars shirt (which is among his all-time faves), you better believe he will be wearing that shirt. If he says ‘no!’ to watching Dinosaur Train (because what three year old boy does not love all things dinosaur or all things train?), guess what Mommy’s putting on the tube? And, therefore, if he says, ‘I not eat pancakes!’ (which in every past, pancake-related situation, he has devoured them so quickly I’m surprised he did not ingest his plate as well), guess who is going to eat his pancakes? Yep, you know it. Little T.Puzzle will be eating those pancakes. It may take a threat or two, a rough stint in time-out and the promise of losing his beloved Brutus and Doggie for the day, but he will eat it. He won’t be happy at first. He will moan and sigh and generally let it be known that he DOES NOT want pancakes. If Mad Dog and I ignore him long enough and he realizes our feathers are no longer ruffled, he gives in and eats them. And wouldn’t you know it, he winds up enjoying them just like 99% of everything else he says ‘no!’ to.