Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Coming to you from the bathroom again today. It's tubby-time-at-naptime again as yesterday's attempt to let the big boy play quietly in his room resulted in him riding the rocking chair like rocking-surfboard and banging it (unbelievably loudly) into the wall.

Epic fail.

Sitting here, on the toilet, typing away, has got me thinking about all the strange things I do in order to survive the day with my beloved three year old. I behave a bit like a trained circus animal, jumping through a series of increasingly elaborate hoops in order to get even simplest tasks accomplished.

In order to brush his teeth - I sing the numbers 1 through 30 to a crazy little tune I made up, with a somewhat southern twang. Recently, the he has begun requesting that I skip certain numbers in the sequence - so here I am: holding him loosely in a head-lock, brushing his teeth quickly, vigorously, and thoroughly while singing and remembering which numbers in the sequence have been banned today.

"Mama will not say fwee, ee-web-en, and twenty-fwee."

Then there's the questions. It is impossible to get the big boy to do anything without first getting his opinion on how the task will be accomplished.

For example, any time an article of clothing is added to, or removed from, the big boy's body - a series of questions must be asked. "Time to get dressed, shall we do it in here or in the bathroom? Do you want to undo the zipper? Pants or socks first? Which foot first?  Which arm first?"

When cutting his finger and toe nails, I ask "Now which one?" twenty times in a row.

It takes fourteen questions to get from PJ's to fully dressed.

As for leaving the house, the series goes like this, "Time to get in the car, what do you want to bring with you? Do you want to open the door? Who goes first? Do you want to open the car door? Do you want to climb in or want me to lift you in?"

And on. And on. And on.

I follow him around all day sounding a bit like a bizarre drill-sergeant/tabloid-news-reporter/highly-motivated-concierge, peppering him with an endless stream of questions.

Now let's discuss the rules of engagement.

And then of course, there's all that time we spend standing around in the freezing cold playing outside together.
The rules of playing hockey with him are simple:
* Hold the stick with two hands (i.e. no cell phone usage during game time).
* Chase him around.
* Attempt to steal the puck, but do not, under any circumstances, actually touch the puck.
* When he scores a goal, hoist your stick into the air in celebration, but do not cheer, or say, "Goal!"
* That is all.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some limbering up to do before the next round of hoop jumping.


  1. Totally get it :) Funny little creatures, aren't they? Owen needs five books next to his bed (which is actually his crib mattress on the floor) at bedtime - not four, not six. FIVE!! Craziness!

  2. Wow... good to peek into the future here for a minute. Do you think your younger son will be like that, too?

  3. Aww darlin! I feel your frustrations. It is so satisfying to let them have a say in how their days, activities and routines go. Just remember that when he gets to the "outside world" (school, playgroups, etc) he may not have as much say in how things go. My oldest (9 years old) is, shall we say, a spirited child. And sometimes for us at home, it is easier to give him the choices on how certain things will go. But I've also found that on a certain level, it has made some things more difficult for him, when he's away from home. He challenges EACH AND EVERY (and I vehemently mean that) decision that is made for him, regardless of the situation, he is a bit bossy when playing with friends, and in the end gets his feelings hurt because of it. Now, I'm not saying that all of these frustrations that he has to deal with is because of all of the choices that we've given him at home, but I do believe that some of it is a result. I constantly struggle with letting him know that it's okay to question authority, and helping him to understand when and where is the best time to do so, and what is the best way to go about doing so.
    Please don't think that I'm judging you, none of us should be judged by anyone. I'm simply relaying what I've learned from being where you are, and being where I am, a few years down the road. It's so hard to figure out what is the "right" way to parent. (if you find out, please let me know). All we can do is make the choices to the best of our ability, stand back, study the results and move forward having learned something....and possibly give some insight to others along the way. ((hugs))

  4. Tonya - so glad I'm not the only mom to a child with SPECIFIC preferences :)
    THK - Thank you for the comment, I appreciate your insight. I've had the same thoughts - wondering if allowing him to call the shots is setting up unrealistic expectations for him, that the world will play by his rules. It's tough.
    MM - The baby is a whole different kid - he's more of an angry tantrum thrower than his big brother so I imagine I'll use different tactics.

  5. Ohhh Melissa!! I remember when my son was three he is 8 now, oh excuse me 8 1/2. My husband would say to him "Ian I can't wait until you are four." I'm glad that you can laugh about it. Hang in there and make sure to take a few moments for yourself.

  6. Didn't you hear: hoop-jumping is the newest sport in Mom Olympics! At least you have enough foresight to warm up!

    Once again, thank you for providing an honest look behind the iron curtain. As always, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has to hone my negotiation skills just to get the babe out of bed in the morning. God forbid I turn off the sound machine BEFORE the humidifier. And don't even get me started on meal preparation and plate presentation. One would think I was a master chef at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris!

  7. Ahh, I have one of these in girl form. It is utterly exhausting, isn't it!!