Creative parenting

I have three kids, ages 13, 8, and 2. You’d think I’d have the parenting gig down now, but sometimes I think the more experience I have with little ones, the less I actually KNOW. And I forget a lot. Like the fact that toddlers don’t like to be told what to do.

Take Squish, for example. He’s potty-peeing champion of the world, and he has been practically since he was hatched. He has had three accidents since he’s been in big boy underwear. He tells me when he has to go, he holds it when necessary. But I can’t leave well enough alone.

Tonight is Family Dinner Night at Earth Fare. It’s a big deal because we almost never go out to eat. So when it was time to go, I told Squish to go pee before we left. In my defense, he’s been sick, and I have been pumping him full of fluids. And I REALLY don’t want him to have an accident because I carry him in our Ergo. On my back. So it was important. I asked him to go. He said “Nope” and went back to playing with his trains.

“Okay, Squish, it’s time to go. Do you want chocolate milk?”
“Yep.”
“The go pee.”
“Nope.”
“Do you want PIZZA?”
“Yep.”
“Hurry and go pee pee, and we’ll get some!”
“Nope.”

This went on for some time. I have forgotten how stubborn little people can be. I offered to let him bring his trains. Nope. I reminded him about the gummy fruits. No dice. As the clock ticked and tummies started rumbling, the big kids started to become a bit anxious and got in on the act. But the little guy didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. He knows who is lower on the totem pole than he is. Because face it, if I told THEM to go to the potty, they’d do it. He knows who holds the winning hand, here.

So the big ones sat down to do some brainstorming. After a few false starts, the oldest said “Remember when  Puck was this age? And we told him he was a fire engine and had to put out the fire in the potty?” I didn’t remember that at all, but I can’t even remember which button on the key fob actually UNLOCKS the car, so it’s possible. The big kids started making fire engine noises and told Squish that the potty was on fire. Looking puzzled and mildly alarmed, he accepted their outstretched hands and let them lead him to the potty.

By the time they actually reached the bathroom, Squish was totally into the game. “Potty’s on fire! Gotta put it out!” the big kids chanted as I helped get Fire Marshall Squish ready for action. He gleefully chanted along and sat down to do his business.

The big kids learned a lesson that day. Sometimes you get more than you bargained for. High-fives ceased and grins faded as their enthusiastic little brother turned from fire engine into dump truck.

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