Who’s the boss

November 22, 2014

I am not one of those parents who wants to be friends with my kids. I figure if they don’t hate my guts now and then I’m not doing my job.

That being said, I openly admit that our toddler boy is spoiled rotten.

I don’t mean spoiled with material things. He hasn’t received many new toys.

But that’s only because his older brother was also a spoiled toddler.  There is only so much space in our little house for endless play things.

Instead, our second son is spoiled with attention, smothered with love, and unless it will injure him bodily, he gets almost everything he wants.

My husband is stronger than me in the face of the child’s manipulation tactics.

I cannot endure the crying, the begging, the whining. I give in before it even begins.

And when I do stand my ground, he brings out the big guns.

He says things like, “Peees…” while rubbing his chest in the sign language motion for please and batting his insanely long eyelashes.

Or, “Be nice to me!”

He says these things with the dearest smile you’ve ever seen.          

He deploys his weapons when I tell him he cannot have a sucker for dinner or that he can’t go outside at 8:30 at night during a snowstorm.

And although I don’t actually give in to every demand he makes (and there are many), I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit that I actually consider it.

It is not unheard of that I might sigh loudly while wondering just how cold it would be if we bundled up and headed outside in the November darkness.

I snap out of it, of course. There’s just no way I’m doing some of the crazy things the child thinks he needs.

And I do mean “needs.” This is one of his favorite words.

He doesn’t just want cake for breakfast. He “needs” it.

He also “needs” to watch The Lorax six times a day (if he got his way it would be kept on continuous loop).

He “needs” to be in his brother’s bedroom while we are doing homework.

He “needs” to see the buffalo at the CMR range “right now!” And when we get there, he “needs” to pet them.

Heaven forbid the buffalo are not near the fence when we arrive. I am told to “find buffalo!”  

And I am in big trouble when I explain that is not an option.

If I could, I would scale the giant fence and herd the hairy beasts over so my baby could have a chat with them.

But alas, I am not a buffalo hunter.

Nor am I a magician who can pull Caillou out of the TV for a playdate or the bear out of the Going on a Bear Hunt book for snuggle.

But I can buy him a stuffed Caillou to ride on his toy tractor, and read his favorite books over and over until my voice gives out.

If you ask our toddler boy who is the boss in our house, he’ll answer, “Me the boss.”

He follows up his response with the sweetest of giggles, and we have no choice but to agree.

This article first appeared in the Lewistown News-Argus and the Sidney (Mont.) Herald on November 22, 2014.