|Okay, it's not all bad|
Carl was away for nine days, though it's never easy, this trip coincided with the beginning of what I'll call an ornery phase. A few examples:
D: I want cereal for breakfast.
(upon seeing cereal in his bowl.)
D: I want yogurt for breakfast!!!
Me: Time for bed.
D: It's not time for bed.
Me: I like your haircut.
D: You don't like my haircut.
And then there's getting dressed. What was once a longish, fairly annoying process has become pure torture. For me. In Carl's absence, running late for work, out of patience, I slammed the bedroom door and told him that we weren't leaving his room until he was dressed. This set us up for a show down that left me completely drained, by 8:30 a.m.
Upon recounting this to a friend with adult children, she said, "What if you had just let him wear his pajamas to school?"
Her question stopped me short. I thought about it. "Everyone would have judged me," I said. "All the teachers, and other parents."
My friend paused, then said gently, "Probably not."
I exhaled loudly, realizing two things: she was right, and even if she wasn't, even if they all judged me, the awful fifteen minutes of forcing my child to get dressed was just not worth it. Let them judge.
So now, whenever I start to have a conflict with Daniel, I ask myself, "What if he doesn't: brush his teeth, put on his shoes, eat his carrots, say goodbye, etc?" And most of those battles, I let them go. Because if I'm going to survive the threes with any serenity, I'm going to have to pick my battles.