We are in a crack-down zone here in the Motherfog house. With the “half-year” theory (equilibrium-disequilibrium) proving its validity with a vengeance, we are tightening the reins and nailing down boundaries. We are committed to regaining our status as The Parents. AKA, the ones in control. Sadly, the roles have recently reversed and those under three feet tall have staged a hostile take-over.
I could give 75 examples, all from before 10 am today, but I’ll pick one from the top five and keep it short. We have been struggling with following through. Just as an example:
“Zachary, if you continue to throw water on your sister’s head, we are going inside”. Followed immediately by Isabelle waddling toward me, drenched and screaming. Great. Now I have to go inside on a beautiful day and figure out how to entertain two toddlers who have been stuck inside for three days due to inclement weather and fevers. Inevitably, I retract my threat, chipping away at what little authority I still have. Clearly, mommy doesn’t mean business.
We’re done. We’re not doing them any favors by letting them create their own “routines” or their own rules. This applies to EVERYTHING. Meals, bedtimes, grocery store behavior, and respectful sibling play-time interaction.
Day one of crack-down:
I have a standing Mommy-Zachary Saturday morning date with my two and a half year old. Nothing is more exciting than our weekly trip to the Recycling Depot. The employees look forward to seeing him and fellow town recyclers watch with adoration as my little cherub divides the plastics from the cardboard and tosses them in to their respective bins.
This morning, as we were in the midst of the black hole that appears while attempting to dress two toddlers, Zachary found much merriment in an adorable new game.
Spitting on Daddy. Spitting on Mommy. Spitting on Baby sis. He was calmly but sternly asked multiple times to stop this gross and unacceptable behavior and each time responded with maniacal giggles.
Finally, I got him to make eye contact and with deliberate weight and seriousness informed him that if he did it again, he would NOT be joining me at the Depot.
One millisecond later, I was wiping saliva from my knee. I picked up Isabelle, left his room and headed downstairs for the front door. He ran after me crying, “I will stop, Mommy! I will! I will”. I turned to him and said,
“It’s too late, Zachary. You can go next week”, and closed the door behind me.
Windows open, I could hear him screaming in hysterics all the way down the street. “It’s not too late, Mommy! It’s not to late! I wanna go with youuuuuuuuuuuuu!”
It was a somber trip to the recycling yard. I missed my little helper. Not that I don’t adore my daughter, but rusty cans and sour cartons just aren’t her thing.
Why do I share this? Because I feel you all will benefit from my reiterating a basic concept of Parenting 101? No. Hundreds of experts have and will continue to explain it better.
The punchline is what makes this story blog material.
As I emptied my blue bins, our friendly Public Works employee asked “Where’s the little guy?”
As I explained this morning’s salivary problem and subsequent unfortunate consequence, a ball of spit escaped from my mouth and hit him on the head.
I chose to ignore it rather than point out the irony, but I giggled all the way home.
Zachary’s listening skills dramatically improved throughout the rest of the day. I think we’re on to something!
Let’s get ready for Crack-Down Day Two