I’ll admit it – we have been unbelievably lucky. Our little boy has always been the perfect blend of curiosity, independence, and obedience.
It would appear that now, however, the delicate balance has shifted somewhere over the past month or two – with curiosity and independence seriously overpowering obedience. *sigh*
Except for the under-sink kitchen cabinet, we never child-proofed our home. Conlan respected what we taught him was off limits. I dreaded the terrible two’s, but they were fantastic. I’m not going to pretend we never had tantrums, but we never had to deal with one in the middle of the grocery store, and the ones at home were quelled pretty quickly with consistency and discipline. Potty training was a breeze and Conlan was completely trained, including overnight, by 2 1/2. I heard three was supposed to be awful, but it’s been pretty great so far, too.
Then, sometime in July, something happened. Maybe it’s because he’s 3 1/2. Maybe it’s because he is unbelievably excited to start preschool in a couple of weeks. Maybe it’s because there’s a baby on the way. Maybe it’s because we’ve been so busy and on-the-go this summer his routine is out of whack.
Whatever it is, this kiddo’s pushing it. To be fair, he’s not being overtly defiant or mean-spirited. And it’s not like it’s all the time. He still has a sweet heart and concern for our feelings (“I’m vewy sowwy mommy”) but he’s earned a new nickname around our house.
As in, OMG why are you touching everything? I’m talking to you, please don’t open the door to the garage and wander in there. I’m on the computer, I don’t think it’s nearly as funny as you do to click on everything in sight. After I specifially asked you to stop touching the wine display in the grocery store, why do you have to touch it “just one more time?”
If Mommy were not pregnant, she would drink the wine display.
Oh, and the pouting! Once we’re finally at our wit’s end and either 1) raise our voice (read: YELL) or 2) put Conlan in time-out (which, BTW don’t come with warnings anymore because you need to listen to us all the time and not just when we threaten time-out), he hangs his head and dangles his arms in what we now refer to as the “powered-down robot.”
Yesterday, in fact, the powered-down robot stood in the kitchen during dinner with the choice to either 1) stay there until we finish eating or 2) please join us. Ahhh, the family dinnertime we all dream of. Somehow my parenting wizard of a husband got him to happily participate in dinner once again. I’m not sure how, but I think it was partially accomplished by re-naming our dinner from “chicken sausage and roasted potatoes” to “hot dogs and french fries.”
And so, this is where we are. We have hit a challenging phase in our thus-far rather easy parenting journey. A phase where every directive is met with “Yeah…but…,” every button needs to be pressed, and mommy & daddy no longer need to be listened to.
But I will say this: I am glad to be part of a team during this period. I hold out hope that this will be short-lived, though it has already proven itself to be longer-lived that the other phases. Even more, I pray we can get through this time without stifling Conlan’s independence, incredible curiosity, and (sometimes) overwhelming enthusiasm. I’d like to find that balance again.
And speaking of finding stuff, if you happen to find our well-behaved preschooler, please let us know. I think we lost him in July.