Thank you, sir. May I have another?

While I tried to make dinner, the boys created a fanciful new game I call “Throw All the Parenting Books Across the Room.” It’s so named because they were throwing all the parenting books across the room.

No, seriously. They left alone the Modernist lit, the graphic novels, and the literary criticism. They threw all the books on practicing patience and being playful and cultivating respect rather than fear.

I gently informed them that, when books get thrown, books get broken. When books get thrown, people get hurt. And when anything gets thrown, I can’t make dinner, so dinner will take longer. The last reason, I was surprised to find, got them both to make eye contact and stop their…how do I put this gently…bullshit. They knocked it off and I finished dinner.

Hmmm. Could this technique work more often?

I was drawing a bath for two-year old Butter and he tried to climb my back and vault into the tub. I told him gently that when he climbed me it made me scared he might fall down. He calmly climbed down.

And got the cat’s water bowl and poured it down my back.

Hmmm. Could this technique perhaps have a blind spot right around Age Two?

As evening called us bedward, I asked the boys to please help me clean up. We had amassed on the living room floor a LEGO collection equal to the task of recreating the Great Wall of China. We all picked up the pieces, depositing them with great mirth and efficiency in the appropriate container. I thanked the boys for their help and told them when we worked together, cleaning up was faster and more fun.

Butter smiled. And dumped out the whole collection right back where it was.

Hmmm. How long does one try a person-management technique before one abandons it for binge drinking and 4pm bedtimes?

13 thoughts on “Thank you, sir. May I have another?

    • Oh, it did me in, alright. But since it didn’t hurt it was an improvement on his mess/surprise/hurt trifecta of attention seeking.

    • I wish I lived in New York and could have liquor delivered. Liquor and chocolate delivery. That’s why immigrants and entrepreneurs all flock to Manhattan.

  1. That darling little Butter smile will get your ass whooped every time. Surrender. YOU go to bed at 4pm, and get THEM binge drinking in the morning!

    • unicorn, that’s why they pay you the big problem-solving dollars. I think I will start going to bed at 4pm. I’ll give them lollypops and a movie and I’ll take a nap. And a shower. And a run. And a novel. Come to think of it, a 1pm bedtime opens up all manner of possiblities…

  2. Every time I try to parent gently, I wait for one of them to turn around, smile broadly, and say, “Mother, thank you so much for parenting me so gently. My soul is flying free like the butterfly.”
    Somehow, I am still waiting. It will no doubt happen today, though.

    • I’d be sure of that if it were front of the shirt. As soon as he starts tunneling through the wall I will know he found Baby’s First Prison Break chapter.

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