What you say: “If you do that one more time, WE WILL GO HOME.”
What you think: “For the love of Pete please KNOCK IT OFF because I spent an hour getting ready to come here and I really don’t want to go ten minutes after getting here.”
Anyone experienced with the 3′ and under set know that as soon as you bend one rule with a toddler they are on you like flies on poo. They suddenly feel entitled to get away with tantrum murder. I’ve been lucky thus far in my parenting career. Generally if I have “that tone” in my voice when telling the moosh to mind me she listens without further argument. And let me just tell you there have been moments when I had no consequence or punishment in mind, I just threw the “mom tone” out there hoping it would fool her. *phew* most of the time it does. But then there’s those times when you throw out a consequence that you don’t really mean, and you’re left praying that your kid shapes up or your faced with the flies on poo dilemma.
Take for example our trip to the pool today. We had finally gotten there (Have you ever taken a kid swimming? The toys, the sunscreen, the potty, the snacks, the swimsuit, the towels, the bikini line, THE UTTER PREPAREDNESS OF IT ALL.) and after an hour the lifeguards took a break and everyone was to get out of the pool during the guards break. the moosh pulled some attitude after I told her to get out of the pool.
“You pull attitude again, we go home.” I said (thinking that would be enough to set her straight, HA HA said the parenting gods.)
She did the ugly grunt/growl at me, stomped her foot, scrunched her nose and yelled “NO!”
Two hours to get to the pool for only one hour of swimming. Do I abandon all that hard work on principle?
Yes, yes I do. Flies on poo Casey, flies on poo.
“I asked you not to be mean, we’re going home.”
Cue the tears. OH THE TEARS. To see the moosh with her wet mop of curls, over sized mermaid sunglasses, wrapped in a pink beach towel with her chubby thighs sticking out bawling the saddest cry a small person is able to muster is a sight no one can look away from. People want to hug her, give her candy and unicorns. (I want to hug her and give her candy and unicorns too, but PRINCIPLE!) I’m left dragging a haggard, sad, chubby little water baby out of the YMCA all because she didn’t listen to me.
Now I’ve only had to abandon a well planned activity once before. It was the zoo, early last year. An hour to get prepared and travel there and less than ten minutes inside the gate when Tantrum War II broke out.
Principle sucks sometimes.
Another time the moosh was in her car seat just as we set out on a ten hour drive to Kansas City. Whatever she was doing was unacceptable and I turned to tell her “IF YOU DO THAT ONE MORE…” I stopped myself. What the heck was I going to do to a kid strapped in a car seat? Leave her at the side of the road? She knew it too. She looked at me as if to say “You’ll do what MOM? Put me in time out? Really? I’m right here. No going anywhere. Bring it.”
But I’m pleased to say that the moosh listens perdy darn well for a three year old. And if it takes days like today to give merit to my scary mom tone then so be it.
You’ve done this too right? Everyone? The whole “I’m saying it but I really don’t want to mean it” thing? How scary is your scary mom tone?