Monday, January 09, 2006

So This Parenting Thing - It's Hard

Boo seems to be going through a phase where ignoring us / challenging us is the order of the day.

I sort of expected that this would happen...terrible two's and all...but we've made it through the two's (so far) pretty unscathed. The first part of two was hard, but for the last six or seven months, we've cruised, for the most part. Yes, we've had to discipline, and yes, we've been occasionally frustrated, but by and large we haven't been completely stressed out from dealing with A.'s behavior.

There are two exceptions I can recall: 1) when Jeanie, who's married to one of our pastors, spoke to A. one Sunday at church and reached out to hug him, and he slapped her across the face, and 2) when Alex threw a fit in the McDonald's drive-thru because he wanted "inside, sit on chair, INSIIIIIIIIIDE" and the lady at the drive-thru window looked at me and said, "Oh. He's one of THOSE kind of children."

I just thought I was humbled by those two incidents.

And then there was this past weekend. Mercy.

I have to think that part of the willfulness is a result of his first day back at Mothers' Day Out this past Friday. It's like all the two year olds got in a huddle and said, "Hey, over the holidays, I figured out that THIS really ticks off my mama and daddy. You should try it. But if THAT doesn't work, try THIS."

Basically, we had a weekend filled with some variation of the following:
"NO, I don't want to,"
"NO, I'm not gonna (fill in the blank)," and
"NO, MAMA / DADDY, NO NO NO NO NO NO [eyes rolling back in head while tears stream down face] NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO."

The key component in our conflict is the remote control. Yes, I said remote control. Yes, he's TWO. But he's OUR two year old, and his fascination with television and things that beep and click shouldn't surprise anyone who knows us. That apple don't fall far from the tree, I'm afraid.

The problem, though, is that he won't WATCH anything. He just clicks. And a TiVo remote, as you may know, makes Many Beeping Noises when you pull up the menu, scroll through the menu, select a show, etc. Beeping noises that are very, very attractive to toddlers. Several times I've walked in the den to find the words "Would you like to delete this program?" on the screen, and Alex just on the verge of clicking "Delete now," and the thought of losing that day's unwatched "Starting Over" transforms me into some demented FBI agent trying to wrestle a gun from a criminal. I will dive, roll, tumble, leap - whatever I have to do to Take Back the Remote and restore order to our television viewing.

Seriously, though, this remote deal bothers me. It even scares me a little. It's like D. said this morning: if we don't get a handle on this issue, then Boo is headed for a bevy of control issues (not that toddlers don't have enough of those without remotes entering into the fray). He'll think he dictates what we watch in our house. That he gets to be in control of everyone else's television. That he can always pick what and when and who he wants to see. And I think D. is right about that. In "Seinfeld" lingo, Boo would have "hand" - and an almost three year-old with hand is dangerous indeed.

Aside from the inevitable ADD - and I have LONG contended that ADD is partially a result, at least these days, of too many viewing options (hello, pot? meet kettle) - it's just an obedience issue. If we say to leave the remote alone, then dadgummit, he should leave the remote alone. The end.

I can keep the remote deal in perspective when I think rationally and remember a) he's two b) of course he would like something that beeps and clicks c) he's not bullying the other two year olds and locking them in closets.

What scares me is the level of willfullness and the thought that it's not going anywhere until he's, say, 80.

It's the prospect of all the many ways the willfulness will manifest itself, and the realization that D. and I, really, have such a short period of time to try to teach and train and conquer that willful little heart. I trust that God will enable us to do that, somehow...but the level of commitment and consistency that it will take just blows my mind.

So now all those comments people made right after A. was born start to make sense. People would say things like "it's a whole new level of faith and fear," and "oh, he's going to keep you on your knees," and I would think, "yeah, okay, I know - but do you see how CUTE this little angel is? Do you see those DIMPLES, people? Because those are some reallllly cute dimples."

And here I sit - almost three years later - with knots in my shoulders from the stress of it all.

Feeling humbled now, Miss Mama Smartypants? :-)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I just say...YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET!!!

1/09/2006 06:35:00 PM  

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