Y’know what blows? Constant defiance. Despite having one of the most compliant toddlers in the world (I mean, he’s still 2.5 — don’t get me wrong — but, from what I’ve seen and heard, he’s pretty laid back) he’s still quite comfortable with the “no.”
Actually, on second thought, it’s not so much the no-saying as it is the constant argument after every limit. The tears. The screamy whine. And, increasingly now, the “pleeeeeeeeaaaaaasssse, Mama?”
I try everything, too. I try giving him fair warning: “After breakfast, we need to get dressed,” and I am naively encouraged (every damn time) when he cheerfully agrees (until the time comes when he has to follow through.) I try giving a 5-minute warning and when I announce that five minutes is up, I always get, “But it’s not five minutes yet!” And how do you prove that to someone who can’t tell time? I try setting the timer on the phone, which actually worked for a while, but lately he’s been lobbying for more time, more playing, one more drink, etc. And it’s all accompanied by Real Tears. And I’m stuck in this Catch-22 situation. I want to honor his feelings of disappointment at having to stop what he’s doing and do something else or his feelings of frustration at being ruled by grown-ups all the time, but I also don’t want to be manipulated. And more than all of that: I’m sick of that effing screamy whine.
I was pretty sure that we had a breakthrough today, actually. He gave me more of that crappy, suckish junk and I finally put on my stern voice and told him that I was not going to have an argument every time a limit was set. I knew I was sort of using language that was above him and asking him to listen and respond to reason, but I was fed up. And lo — he stopped the tears immediately! He just said, “OK.” He stopped whining about wanting to watch more Peppa Pig, walked over to his fire trucks and started playing. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles.
But it was short-lived and we had battles of wills when I asked him to go potty, go up for nap, and at bath time. This ends eventually, right? Right? (It doesn’t really, does it?)