Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Get What I Asked For

We had just gotten up, and the boys were shouting their breakfast orders into the kitchen.  Very specific orders, without a side of appreciation, and I was getting frustrated.  Especially since, they have the SAME thing for breakfast almost every day.  I mostly brushed them off, but took the time to remind them that I was not a short order cook.  I usually would invite them into the kitchen to make their own breakfast, which they can’t.

Then they started requesting the specific cup they would like their milk to be in.  One wanted a Dora cup, the other Spiderman.  So I got the milk in the two plainest cups they had. 

Jackson collapsed onto the floor.  His world had been crushed.  When the boys are upset I will talk to them in a somewhat shocked voice.  “What?  You seem angry.  Can you tell me what’s wrong?  Do you still want your milk?”

What followed was a 5 minute conversation with Jack.  Well I conversed, he mostly just sobbed.  (I need to find a better conversationalist) I would ask if he wanted his milk.  He would say no.  I would start to walk away, and he would scream anew, because I was leaving with the milk.  Each time I pretended I was more shocked and confused then the time before.

“Jackson I don’t understand.  You said you didn't want it, so I was going to throw it out.  Now you’re yelling at me more.  Do you want this milk?”

“No!”  I especially loved how indignant he became after each question.

Post-toddlerdom is a tough spot to be.  Everyone tells you how terrible the two’s are.  When your kid is two, everybody takes it easy on you.  You can tell people how hard it is to care for your toddler, as he rolls on the floor at Walmart. 

Nobody has any sympathy for you if your kid is three.  Now they are judging you.  I mean your kid is three when are you going to get control of him anyway???

At a year old, your child is still too dumb uniformed to know that they have free will, and can make their own choices.  By the time they reach 2 (Well 1.7 really) they have realized that they no longer have to listen to everything you, as the supreme overlord, have told them.  Problem is they don’t really have a good way to tell you.  I remember very succinctly the day both boys left the terrible twos.  One day a light just flipped, and they figured out that they had to tell you want they wanted in order to exercise their new found free will.
From that point on they have entered stage 3.  Now they know they can make choices, they know they need to inform you of those choices, but god forbid you disagree with those choices, no matter how irrational they sound to your stupid adult brain. 

If you can keep up with the speed at which those choices change, then you are a better parent then me.  Most times you are able to use a calm reasoned approach to what they would like.  Other times you can't or more likely are to tired to negotiate the mind field that is a three year old's brain.  I can’t really blame them though.  As adults we change our minds just as often.  Really the only difference between us and them is we have the emotional control to cry on the inside. 

The day after I finished complaining about my short 20 minute commute, it took an hour and a half.  You can’t make this stuff up.  It took an hour to make it 7 miles up the highway.

At first I was all…ha ha ha isn't this funny.  I could appreciate the irony as it has happened to me in the past.  One Sunday in the distant past, I had prayed for patience.  After mass I went to Wendy’s and stood in line for 45 minutes to get my food.  I could literally hear God laughing at me. 

I don’t remember when I stopped laughing.  I think it happened some time after I had to call the hotel, so they would know I would be there shortly before the end of time.  I wasn't collapsing on the floor, but inside I was screaming just like the three year old I was trying to give the milk he wanted earlier in the day.  

We humans are a fickle bunch.  Unfortunately as adults we don’t get to roll around on the floor at Walmart because the TV we wanted just went up $30. I think that kids are more like the adult version of us then we give them credit for.  Someday little Jack is going to feel too socially awkward to express his emotions so vocally.   That makes me a little sad actually, which in turn makes me a little crazy I think. 

Glenn just laughed and rolled his eyes.  “It sure is hard being three isn't it dad.”

You should try my age, said every person ever.

The crying did stop, and he moved on as if nothing had happened.  When I went to get his clothes for the day, there was no doubt what he would be wearing that day. 

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