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?

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