On Tuesday, I picked up my son from daycare. He was excited and happy to go home, which was perfect. It meant that I had co-operation to sit in the stroller while I walked us home and didn’t have to take three or four times as long to get home. Dinner would be done as Jason got home. Dishes (aside from dinner ones) would be washed. I might even get time to toss Dean in the bath before dinner…
As I was pulling my keys out of my purse, just before we got off the bus, Dean heard the tell-tale jingle and asked to hold them so I handed them over, along with the warning that he needed to hold onto them and not drop them or I would have to put them in my pocket. He was also given fair warning that I would need them back when we got home.
So he happily agreed to my terms and reached out to have my keys. I placed them in his little hands and we got off the bus and started our fifteen minute walk home.
I reminded Dean, when the house came into view, that I would need my keys to unlock the door. He pulled them close to his chest and outright said “No, Mommy” and shook his little head.
Great. I knew this was going to go over well… So I explained logically to Dean, as I tend to do in situations and usually it works to get his co-operation, that I needed the keys to turn off the alarm so then we could go into the back yard to play outside before dinner. I would use them and then he could have them back after.
“I just need to use them for 10 seconds. We can count. And then when done, we can go outside in the backyard.”
“Dean, we’re going to wait until you’re ready to let me use the keys. You’ll need to sit in the stroller while we wait because we’re in the front yard near cars and it’s not safe to be playing out front. Once I can unlock the door and turn off the alarm, we can go to the back yard, water the garden and play with your toys.”
“Nnnnnnnnoooo, Mommy!” *snicker*
Sometimes I wish I would just strong-arm him and get things done. But I know that’s not fair to him and it’s also not going to teach him anything because next time we are just going to have this resistance again, except he’s going to be worried that I’ll yank the keys out of his hands so he’ll be upset from the start.
So we waited. For twenty minutes, I sat on the porch steps with Dean in the stroller. He was content. Happy, even. I could just imagine his thought process…
“Bwahahahah, Mommy thought she’d win. Sucker! I have the keys! But I want to play outside in the yard… Must not cave! MY KEYS!”
Finally, he threw me the keys after realizing we weren’t going in the backyard without him giving them up. He was tired of sitting in the stroller and wanted out.
I thanked him for the keys, but he refused to make eye contact. Such a poor sport.
We went into the backyard, where yet again he wanted to assert his toddler-independence (and my mental health)
We have a dog that poops all over the yard, and while we clean it right away and don’t leave her unattended in the yard, there’s always the chance that she’s pooped somewhere and we didn’t catch it so we have a “shoe” rule. He has to wear shoes while outside. Boots, sandals, running shoes, whatever he wants to wear. It doesn’t have to be practical but it does need to cover his feet.
So, there we are in the backyard with him wearing his boots that he wanted to change out from his running shoes we arrived home in, to wear his giant, clunky boots outside. Sure, why not, right?
Within minutes of being outside, one falls off. He laughs manically and takes the other one off and bolts into the yard. I go out, hold his hand and walk him to the patio. I remind him of the shoes rule and ask him what shoes he wants to wear.
“Daddy’s sandal” was his response. I held my tongue, let him make that decision and watched him put on the size 11 mens sandals and try to walk in them. I thanked him for listening and wearing something on his feet as he beamed at me, in between stumbling while trying to walk. He spent five minutes trying to get halfway across our back yard with these giant flip-flops on but he made it. And hey, he was wearing shoes.
Pick your battles, right?
His stubbornness has been shining a lot lately.
He’s also fighting getting dressed. Sometimes he gets upset when we take his shirt or his pants off after dinner, since they are covered in food, and he whines to have pyjamas on right away. Sometimes he gets upset that we are getting him dressed and he isn’t naked anymore.
Other times, he just doesn’t seem to know what he wants. Like most mornings lately. He’s been climbing onto his big bed to get dressed, which has resulted in two stalemates in the past week. When he gets changed on the change table, he is fast to co-operate so that he can climb down and go play. On the mornings that I’ve tried to let him get dressed on the bed, he has refused to get dressed, but then begged to get dressed when I told him I was going to go and get ready while I wait for him to want to get dressed. The rule was made : If you want out of your room, you need to be dressed. And both times he was on his bed, he flipped back and forth between “Yes, I want to get dressed” and “HA! GET BENT, WOMAN!” until I finally got up and went about getting myself ready for the day.
He was pretty fast to change his mind and want to get dressed after that point! And I’ve since learned that he has to get changed on the change table if we need to be leaving the house by a certain time.
This child has definitely inherited a strong sense of stubbornness.
I blame it all on his father. Because it’s definitely NOT from me!