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Am I Wrong? OR Am I Wrong?

Yesterday was a bit trying.

I’m guessing the kid’s teeth are bothering him. . .And he’s two. . .And I’m becoming very pregnant and tired AND SOBER . .AND it was a dreaded running night. . .and nearly 100 degrees. . .

So conditions were prefect for one or all of us to completely lose our shit.

And we didn’t disappoint.

Mac was on edge from the start.  I could just tell he wasn’t exactly comfortable.  And from the moment his feet hit the floor he was asking for chocolate milk and “screen.”

Now, this annoys me and I wish we hadn’t started this little treat but given the amount of drool coming out of his mouth, I figured he must be uncomfortable.  And I heard on NPR or some other such shit that kids will often ask for sweet stuff when they are physically uncomfortable.

So I managed to broker a deal where he ate a few decent bites of breakfast and then I doled out a few swigs of chocolate milk and whipped cream.  Crisis one averted.

We headed to museum where we could at least suffer in air-conditioned comfort.  He did pretty well there but by the end things were getting a little touchy.  So I bribed him.  I told him we’d have lunch at the museum and if he was good, we’d get a special treat.

It worked.  Except the spell wore off once we arrived home and he again began demanding “screen” (which I denied repeatedly) and he was downright nasty.  Physically nasty.  So we spent a lot of unpleasant minutes in time outs until I finally convinced him to eat more lunch (most of which he threw at me after I once again denied his requests for “screen” ) and get in his crib.

And then he didn’t sleep.  Even though I knew he was exhausted.

And I was exhausted too.

Chris arrived home and we did our little death march through the Park in 90 degree heat.  I hoped perhaps we could get Mac to bed early since he’d missed nap and I’d have some time to rest up too.

But since the sun was setting and I was feeding Mac, Chris recognized his opportunity and literally went running out the door.

You all know how I feel about running nights.  It’s not so much the actual running that gets me.  It’s the time required afterwards. . .the stretching, the showering. . .It really does take a chunk of time.  Time Mac wants to spend with his Father, so he’s always more disagreeable on running nights even without being exhausted or physically uncomfortable.

Chris returned from running.  Did his stretches while he choked down some dinner and proceeded upstairs to shower.  (I’ll give him props, he’s doing much better taking less time after running.)

At this point, things were going better than I had anticipated.  Mac was in pretty good humor, it was barely 8 PM, and I attempted to get him settled for some reading before bed.

Except he heard the shower.

And then he started:  “Take a bath?”  “Peese bath?”  “Bath and Crib?”

I tried to gently avoid his requests for a bath.  It was just getting too late.  I figured I’d clean and we’d swim the following day anyway so I’d wash his sheets and give him a bath the next day anyway.

But the longer the shower ran, the more incited Mac became.  I tried to explain.  We talked about managing our emotions and being respectful.  And then he punched me in the face several times.

Yesterday he was in time out NINE times for scratching or punching me.  Brutal.

Chris shut off the shower and was immediately greeted to the sound of Mac wailing and screaming once again in time out.  So naturally Chris starts screaming “Is everything alright?”

Does it sound alright?  Define alright.  Sure it’s alright for being 32 weeks pregnant and emotionally and physically beat up,  forcibly restraining an exhausted and irate toddler.  When you look at it this way, everything’s just peachy.

“We’re just in time out again!” I shouted.  “He really wants a bath.”

We finished time out and Mac laid his little head on the sofa wailing “Bath. . .Crib?  Bath?  Crib?!”

Chris descended a few stairs and peered through the banister, “Mackinley, tonight is NOT your bath night. . .”

“Um. . .It actually IS his bath night,” I interrupted.  “I just thought maybe he’d be okay waiting until tomorrow afternoon. . .Since it’s getting late an all. . .”

Chris’ eyes met mine.  He started over in his calm voice. . .The one I find slightly patronizing.  “Mackinley, we aren’t getting a bath tonight. . .”


Mac clocked me across the face again.

Chris retreated to the bathroom, leaving Mac and me to struggle through another time out.

And again, after time out Mac rested his head on the sofa wailing, “Bath? Crib?”

And my heart hurt worse than my nose.  

Pick your battles.  The kid IS a sticky mess.  All he wants is a bath and his crib.  What’s the harm really?  Give him a quick bath already and get him in bed.

“Chris!” I shouted, “Can you please start the bath water for Mac?  I’ll give him a bath if you don’t feel like it.”

And then I’m pretty sure CHRIS would have also gotten great satisfaction in punching me in the face.

He came downstairs and gathered Mac.  Holding him on his right hip at the bottom of the stairs he began lecturing me in an angry voice, “Deni, when we say no, we mean no.  Every parenting book you read says you can’t go back once you say no.  You can’t give in just because he’s throwing a fit!  If I say no, I expect that you’ll support me!”

Right.  He’s right.  

Except, what if your heart tells you, YOU WERE WRONG?  

After all the times yesterday I denied Mac something and explained why and dealt with the aftermath without “giving in” or “backing down,” WAS it bad parenting on my part to give in to a simple request for a bath?

He legitimately needed a bath.  It was his night to rightfully get a bath.  The main reasons we were denying him a bath was because I was too damned tired to do it and Chris was busy running and it was getting late. . .

And were those things Mac’s fault?  Or problem?

Of course not.

All the kid wanted was a bath.  And we were being selfish in our motivations for denying one.

As far as I’m concerned that’s wrong.

We were wrong.

And if I’m wrong, I think as a parent, I owe my child a reevaluation of the situation and possibly a reversal of my decision.

I get you shouldn’t give into a child’s every whim.  I know you should be firm in your decisions and I am very consistent.  However, in certain circumstances, I think it’s appropriate to show the child I’m willing to reconsider.

I want my child to understand he has boundaries and limits and that he should respect my decisions.  However, I also want to demonstrate that this isn’t a dictatorship.  I want him to trust that I’m also fair and reasonable in my decision-making.  I want him to know that sometimes it’s acceptable to change your mind – especially when you have carefully considered the circumstances and available information.

Would YOU have given the kid a damned bath already?  


8 Responses to “Am I Wrong? OR Am I Wrong?”

  1. Mary Ann says:


    • admin says:

      Ha! He can be a real maniac, this kid. I have no idea where he gets this? Bah-hahaha. Hope you have a great weekend and your family is happy and healthy! XO

  2. Yes. And you know you will next time, too. xoxoxo
    nothingbythebook recently posted…And now, a few words about parasites, getting ostracized, and serial communistsMy Profile

    • admin says:

      Ha! I KNOW. I’ll bet in a few years we’ll be begging and bribing the kid to TAKE a bath. We should probably be thankful he willingly takes them now. 🙂 XO to you too!

  3. Karen says:

    Nope. I’m with your husband. You can’t go back on your no’s.

    • admin says:

      Karen, Did my husband compensate you for this comment? hahaha! I hear you. And I agree just about 98%. Thanks for reading and commenting and I hope you have a good weekend!

  4. KSD says:

    You should definitely stick to your guns with this age group. Once he’s a little older and can have a real discussion you can teach him that sometimes mommy changes her mind and that’s okay but not at 2.

    In the larger situation though that led to you digging in your heals initially I also see some fault lying with your husband letting the issue go so far. When Mac hit you the second time your husband retreated!!!!! I think he should have stepped in and reinforced that Mac should not be hitting you. Clearly you were not having a good day. That was your husbands opportunity to step in and support you showing a united front. Sometimes we don’t pick our battles well and when our partner in parenting sees this happening and can see we are struggling they need to step in and help.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for you thoughts! The Husband gets a bit of a bad rap on this blog (primarily for amusement purposes) but he’s really awesome.

      I believe the reason he was headed downstairs initially during this little scuffle was specifically to support my “no bath” decision. Which of course, I decided was an incorrect one on my part. So when I changed course, he, understandably, wasn’t pleased with ME. . .because he would agree with you that no ALWAYS means no.

      Anyway, usually we make sure we are on the same page and we are supporting one another. . .I’m really fortunate to have him! 🙂