My three year-old is going through a phase. He has to have everything his way. He has to do what he wants, when he wants to do it. Everyone who disagrees with him is wrong. He has become a control freak. I think that this phase is most commonly refered to as “childhood.” I would say that I hope it stops soon, but to be quite honest, I still might be going through the same phase myself. And even though I don’t usually resort to throwing whiney tantrums, I do tend to get my way. Because I am the adult. Or at least I put up a pretty good front pretending that I am.
Everything has become a battle. I’ve found (the hard way, of course) the secret to doing battle with three year-olds. Are you ready for this parenting wisdom? I choose to not battle him whenever possible. This only works for little things like letting him wear whatever the heck he wants, even if he looks completely ridiculous. I did have problems with him wanting to wear dirty clothes, but I just told him that everything in his hamper is dirty, and gross, and might have baby poop on it. Now he won’t go within three feet of the thing, let alone resurrect any clothes out of it. We also have our nonnegotiables: you will wear a jacket and shoes, you will sit buckled into your car seat, you will say please and thank you, and you won’t have screaming banshee fits in public unless you want to start a war with mama. We do try to offer lot of choices: green beans or carrots, fork or spoon, milk or water, simmer down or time-out. However, sometimes you can’t win.
Lately we’ve been in the midst of a food battle. This kid has been an awesome eater for the last two years, but his appetite has diminished considerably lately. And what’s worse is that he barely eats any fruits or vegetables any more. It’s getting to the point where I’m starting to worry about scurvy. Which leads us to lunch the other day. I made sandwiches and pear slices. Logan was, once again, refusing to eat his pear slices. I tried to coax him into trying a bite.
Him: “No! I don’t like appwles!”
Me: “They’re not apples! They’re pears. You will like pears. Look, brother likes his pears.”
Him: “No pears! I don’t like them!”
Me: “No sandwich until you try your pears.”
Him: “NOOOOOOOO!” (He thinks for a moment) “Can I have some dip-dip then please?”
Me: “Sure pal.”
Please take this moment to note, that my child (much like most young children) loves dip-dip. He’s mostly a ranch or ketchup guy, but he likes all kinds of dip-dip. I totally use this to my advantage. I take his plate into the kitchen and grab a jar of left over baby food that our youngest never ate from the pantry. To be extra spiteful, I made sure it was pears. I plopped some pear puree on the plate alongside his sliced pears and gave it back to him. He dipped the pears into the pear puree, and made yummy noises. He ate all of them, and asked for more. He felt like he won, but really I won. So in my book we both won. And you can judge me for tricking my kid, but at least now he’s not going to get scurvy. I am totally counting this as a parenting victory.
Dip-dip has restored the peace in our house (at least temporarily). And I think I’m on to something here. Perhaps I’ll call the UN to pitch them my idea…