• J Mess


The policy of this house is: we don't negotiate with terrorists.

Toddlers. Like tiny conundrums wrapped in an enigma. Sometimes they're happy. Sometimes they are giant crabs. Sometimes you try to help them by breaking their string cheese, opening their banana, or taking a bite to start their apple and all hell breaks loose. It's inexplicable. It's unpredictable. It's unavoidable. It's like spending everyday walking through a minefield with an unstable, moody little human. You never know what you're going to encounter, so you have to be prepared for anything and everything. At the 2-year pediatrician's visit, the doctor told us to pick our battles, but guess what kid, you're 2 and if I accidentally forget that you insist on pushing all of the elevator buttons yourself and someone else presses it instead, you're really just gonna have to get over it. Life is unfair.

"ME POOOSH!! ME POOOOSH!" God help you if you don't let him press the button.

My husband is much more of a "poosh"-over than I am. He typically lets Nathan do whatever it is he's screaming about in order to make the screaming stop. Path of least resistance. I get it, trust me I do. In fact now that I know this, maybe I should try this tactic to get what I want. Nathan wants to eat blueberries for dinner, give him the berries. He wants to stay up later and watch his iPad. Fine. He's incredibly upset because he wants to wear grey pants instead of blue. Whatever, who cares. I, on the other hand, being exposed to this nonsense on a much more frequent scale, have little patience for my tiny dictator's incessant and sometimes completely unreasonable demands. I really couldn't care less that you're insisting on going on your roller coaster in the middle of dinner or that you want to open sidewalk chalk in my living room. The answer is no, and if you'd like to cry about it, that is your prerogative. Let me know when you're done and would like to rejoin productive society. As a matter of principle, I don't take any crap from anyone, even if you're 3 feet tall. Especially if you're 3 feet tall. Because you know the old saying, if you give an inch... they'll make you sleep on the floor next to their crib.

Case in point. Nathan has begun the very annoying habit of waking up in the wee hours of the morning on the weekends. I've trained him well, and his frenzied cries for "DADDYYYYY!!!" produce a tired, but effective response from my husband. Our typical approach to this situation was to give him his iPad and hope he'd quietly watch alone in his crib until it was an acceptable time to get up, while we went back to bed. But recently, he's begun upping the ante and ordering Josh to stay in his room with him while he watches. As my husband was trying to exit, Nathan decreed "Dada make night night Der!" and angrily pointed to the floor next to his crib. My husband, assuming Nathan would begin screaming if not obeyed, laid down on the floor helplessly and endured hours of Nathan checking to ensure he was still there and not asleep by saying "hi dada" every 10 minutes until he got a response. When my husband recounted this story to me over multiple cups of coffee, I was in utter disbelief. He told you to lay down on his floor and you did it? Are you insane? And then as if not learning your lesson the first time or just resigning yourself to your fate as a patsy to a 2-year-old, you did it again the next morning? Oh sweet Jesus no.

This is certainly not teaching our child that most times in life one does not get their way. People are not just going to do what you say because you say so. Your little 2 year old self is not in charge here. I am the alpha. My house, my rules. The lesson is coming, tiny terror, because there's a less than zero percent chance my pregnant butt is laying down on your floor, even if you scream until your lungs fall out. And even less of a chance I'm letting you color on my face with markers, which, yes, my husband also allowed...

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