#151 In which our hero has a challenging evening.
Last night was challenging. I’m a little stressed to start, because I’m leaving for a week-long camping trip on Saturday, and I have a bunch of stuff to get done before I’m ready to go. And when I get stressed about something -- which isn’t that often, thankfully -- I can tend to be, well, a bit of a dick.
I’m aware of it, (my therapist is very pleased with the progress I’ve made) and I try hard not to manifest my dickness inappropriately. But last night?
Here’s the thing: it’s easy to forget that Lily is only two because she’s so articulate and level-headed. And you can reason with her. Well, sometimes. Other times, there is no reasoning with her, and it drives me up the wall. I’m predisposed to have a problem with children, I guess, because I hate to repeat myself. If I am reasonable and clear the first time I tell you something, why should I ever have to repeat it? Wait, don’t answer that, I already know: because the person I’m talking to is TWO.
Lily’s big thing right now is that she “don’t want to.” My preciously little angel don’t want to do damn near anything it seems. “Lily, it’s time for dinner.” “I don’t want to eat dinner!” “Come on Lily, it’s time for your bath.” “I don’t want to take a bath!”
And on, and on, and on.
We try hard to be good parents, and not ever tell our kids that they have to do something “because I said!” The other night Lily tried a couple of bites of something we were having for dinner, then said she didn’t like it. So we didn’t force her, and she ate other things instead. Not a major deal.
But some things, like taking a bath or going to bed, just aren’t optional. You don’t get to dip a toe in the water then say you don’t like it. Especially when you’re filthy from playing outside all day. So last night everything was a challenge. I don’t want to eat dinner! I don’t want to go inside! I don’t want to take a bath! I don’t want to go to bed!
I tried to distract her with funny faces and asking her what she did today, etc., but it wasn’t working. I finally deposited her in her bed (I don’t want to stay in bed!) and turned out the light. I retreated to my bedroom, only to hear this:
I don’t want to be in bed! Daddy! I don’t want to be in bed! I don’t want to be in bed! I don’t want to be in bed! Daddy! Daddy! I don’t want to be in bed! I don’t want to be in bed! I don’t want to be in bed! I don’t want to be in bed! Bwaaaa! I don’t want to be in bed! Bwaaaa! Bwaaaa-AAA!I went in once to reassure her that yes, I hear you, I’m not ignoring you, but you have to go to bed. It’s dark outside. Everyone is going to bed. It’s night-night time. Lay down! I left her and the complaints continued.
The red rage built in my skull as I tried to deal. I don’t want to get into the habit of rushing to her side every time she complains about something, so I let her cry a bit. She needs to know that crying isn’t going to get her what she wants. Unless what she wants is Daddy to develop a brain aneurysm.
Finally, The Scientist intervened. She was afraid that Lily’s crying would wake up Macey, and she was right in that if that happened, NO ONE would be happy, for hours. She had a discussion with the little girl, which actually ended up in a spanking. The Scientist calmly explained that it was night time (Ha! I tried that!) and that it was dark outside (that, too!) and that she needed to lay down in bed (strike three!). But Lily turned the corner when she continued to stand up in bed and refused to lay down, as The Scientist asked. Reportedly, it went down like this:
MAMA: Lily, you need to lay down in bed.
LILY: [shakes head no].
M: Lily, you know you have to listen to me, right?
L: [Nods yes].
M: Okay, then please lay down.
L: [Shake, shake].
M: Okay, honey, I’m going to count to three.
L: [Nod, nod]
M: And you know what happens when I get to three, right?
L: I get a spanking on my hiney?
M: That’s right. One… two…
L: [Shake, shake].
M: Lily, do you really want me to get to three?
L: [Shake, shake].
M. I didn’t think so. Okay, I’m going to start over. One… two…
L: [Shake, shake]
And then the spanking. One quick swat to the butt later, Lily was crying softly as The Scientist held her, explaining that she has to listen and that mama doesn’t want to spank her, but will if she has to, and so on.
This just goes to prove that our little girl can listen to reason. But that sometimes that reason has to be delivered forcibly. To the hiney.