Please let me begin by apologizing to my mother. Mom, I’m looking at you. I am so sorry… for every time you planned something special and I ruined it by crying, whining, or being a teenager. I can’t go back in time and all I can do is apologize. Profusely. I’m just so sorry!
Every day when Cal and I come in the door after being picked up at “school”, I have a plan for us. Usually, it’s make dinner together and play. Most nights, I have something we could play that is a little more structured. During this season, it’s been Santa-themed (coloring book, red and green pom pom painting, baking, gingerbread play doh, etc.). Yesterday, I was hoping she’d want to finger paint to make gift tags for our presents.
Ok, so maybe you’ll want to sensory play with tissue paper and those little stiff crinkles used to fill boxes? Yes? Great!
She opens this glittery box full of fun, and throws the tissue paper into the air to see how long it takes to come down. She tries this with individual little crinkles and then figures out that they make noise if you throw MANY of them at once. While this is going on, I’m trying to make marshmallows without 1. burning my fingertips off and 2. a candy thermometer. We’re singing and it’s a grand old time!
“Mama, I want to play with my little calendar toys.”
“Okay, bud, but you have to clean up your tissue paper mess first.”
“I don’t want to clean up!”
“Cal, it’s time to clean up if you want to play with something else. I’m not asking. Clean up now, please.”
“Ok. Take a break.”
She marches to her little “break” chair and bursts into dramatic tears. Meanwhile, I don’t know if I’d made successful marshmallows, but there is sticky EVERYWHERE. So, I’m cleaning up and I’m narrating it so she can see that even though I don’t want to do it, I am anyway. She stops crying to ask for a hug and I tell her after we finish hugging, she needs to finish cleaning up.
Y’all, I FaceTimed Marc (twice), he called Santa, I brought down Tinsel to watch her make bad choices, and I tried to bribe her with hot chocolate. SHE WOULD NOT BUDGE.
I did feed her. I didn’t want to feed her until she’d cleaned, but I did. She didn’t clean. It was 6:15. We’d been struggling for an HOUR like this. Know what I did?
Drink? Not yet. Cry? I wanted to. Yell? Nope.
I put her ass in bed.
I had to carry her limp, noodle hysterical body up the stairs, put her in a diaper, wrangle her into pajamas, brush her teeth, and get her bed ready all with her scream-crying in my face.
I plopped her in bed and told her as gently as I could muster that she had two choices: 1. go to bed early or 2. clean up her mess. She surprised me by saying, “Clean up, please.”
We proceeded back down stairs and she happily cleaned up every single piece of paper and scrap with her broom. What is up with three year old?! Her mood changed INSTANTLY. We did end up having hot chocolate and splitting a cookie before actually going back up to bed.
I nearly LOST it last night. Caleigh being this stubborn is rare. Parents of toddlers and olders, how do I handle this? Should I expect this as the new normal? HELP!
Also, Merry Christmas and all the wine,