Right around the time a certain little someone turned three some new defiant behaviors started showing up in our everyday routines. Suddenly he wouldn’t want to get in the car or snuggle in for nap time. Getting him to put shoes on, eat his lunch, all kinds, would trigger this stubborn refusal. And while I’m also trying to lug around the stuff associated with a baby under one and manage his eating/sleeping schedule, it quickly registered as terribly inconvenient.
What is one to do? Please send help. Thank you. This is three, y’all. Everyone says “terrible twos”, but threenagers have always been more challenging for me. We’ve tried this and that, done our fair share of venting, we recognize it’s just a phase and we’ll get through it. But the only thing that consistently helps to keep life running smoothly is a solid dose of creative distraction.
Here’s what I mean. Take getting in the car: if he’s refusing, getting stern with him only makes it worse, but saying something like, “Hmm…what do you think we’ll see on the way there? Maybe a crane? Remember the other day we drove by that construction site and the crane was moving? Do you think it will be working today too?” while ushering him in to his car seat and buckling. The thing is, it’s a whole lot easier to demand he do what I say and GET. IN. THE. CAR. My fried mom-brain doesn’t want to make the extra effort of coming up with something he’d care enough about to be distracted by enough to participate in what I’m asking him to do. I’m desperate enough by nap time I just want him to fall asleep already, but playing a little game like, “Now, remember, don’t lay down on my pillow, you know I don’t like that!” (reverse psychology at its finest as he plops his head down on the bed, giggling), actually gets the job done faster, even though it may take a few more brain cells.
All I’m saying is, I’m embracing it. I’m calling it a nice little brain exercise to keep my creative spark alive and not go insane.