Friday, September 19, 2008

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Mick and the Stones got it right.

But somehow, no matter how many times I say it, I can't seem to get my three-year-olds to learn it.

Much like the Bush-Cheney administration, my three-year-olds have proven impervious to logic.

Take getting ready for school. Thing 1 wants to wear his red Lightning McQueen t-shirt (for the uninitiated, Lightning McQueen is the hero of Pixar & Disney's CARS), but the shirt is in the hamper, dirty, needing a wash. Thing 1 is told the shirt is dirty. Thing 1 throws a fit anyway, convinced he will get his way. Ten minutes and much cajoling later, a gray Lightning McQueen t-shirt has been located and offered as a substitute. The shirt goes on.

But the next impossible request is made. Thing 1 wants frozen waffles for breakfast topped with peanut butter and jelly. Late Blooming Mom makes the discovery that we are out of peanut butter, and explains patiently and repeatedly to Thing 1 -- now thrashing about on the floor again -- that until such time as she has the chance to go to the grocery store, there is no peanut butter to be had. Thing 1 cannot be pacified with promises of future peanut-butter-laden waffles. Nor does the offer of a pancake work. We're in for it: a fight to get him out of the house, into his car seat, and all the way to school. There, teary-eyed, he'll be given a snack by a teacher, a snack that does not involve the merest smidge of peanut butter, yet somehow, amazingly, does not arouse even a whimper of protest. Suddenly all is right with his world again. Not so much for the parent who drove him to school, who is still traumatized, nerves frayed and jangled by the morning's events.

Upon preschool pickup later, Thing 2 doesn't understand why she can't have a pink lollipop when Late Blooming Mom has searched the entire bag of lollipops and can't find any in that color. Thing 2 is invited to undertake her own search. She can find no pink lollipop: its utter absence from the array of otherwise delightfully flavored lollipops has been confirmed. Nevertheless, Thing 2 cries, "I want a PINK one!" And proceeds to repeat this plea twenty times in the next two minutes.

They want, they need, they must have, the very thing that is not immediately available, or simply can't be had.

No arguments to the contrary are brooked, even when it is demonstrably proven that said object of desire is unattainable.

As I said, they are impervious to logic.

And the fits go on.

Distraction occasionally works. Bribery with some OTHER potential object of desire might do in a pinch. But often, there simply is no solution save letting the explosion run its course.

Somehow or other, though, I keep appealing to reason, presenting clear and easy to follow arguments and demonstrating my point with all the evidence I can muster. I don't know why I do this. It's as if I expect them to suddenly, instantly, this time, grow up just enough to understand and accept that they cannot, at this moment, get exactly what they want.

It ain't likely to happen, yet I persist.

Could it be that I, too, am impervious to logic?

Uh oh. They're starting to infect me.

1 comment:

Jonathan Brandt said...

Kim Brandt's Binky-Weening Strategy:

Pick a day in the near future. That day is to be the Special Day (name it whatever), when Binkies are collected from boys and girls who now are big kids and don't need to use them anymore and given to new babies all around the world who need them.

Make sure that spouse, and grandparents, etc. know about the special day, so they can join in the encouragement and anticipation.

You may wish to sweeten the pot with a trip to a favorite place or a reasonable gift on that day.

On the eve of the special day, have your kid(s) gather all the binkies they can find, and place them in a box or envelope. Let them decorate the box or write a letter to go with it if they'd like.

Take the box to the mailbox. This is where the Binkie Fairy comes at night and collects the Binkies and gives them to little babies who need them.

When kids are asleep, you know what to do with the box.

Next morning - celebrate! Give the gift(s), go to the special place, whatever.

Whenever there are tears afterwards, just remind your child that there are no more binkies in your house now, and how happy a little baby is thanks to them.

But be firm - the binkies are gone forever.