My failed career as drill sergeant
Filed under: Toddlers Preschoolers
If you've ever listened to Bill Cosby's genius comedy routine Himself (if you haven't had the pleasure, may I recommend that you go ahead and buy the DVD right this instant? Okay then!), you know the skit titled "Brain Damage", right? Cosby's got this bit that goes something like, "All children have brain damage. You can't just say "come here", you have to send a barrage of heres. Come here, come here, come here, come here, come here! HERE! HERE! HERE!!!" I was thinking of that this past week during our vacation, which our toddler spent in perpetual Over-Stimulated Mode, as I heard a similar dialogue issuing forth from my own mouth: "Riley! Put that down! Put that down! Down! DOWN! DOOOOWN!"
Put that down, stop it, stop jumping, sit still, no, NO, NOOOO, don't touch that, that's not yours, I don't want to have to tell you again, etc etc etc. My god, I gave myself a lip-cramp from all the Disapproving Pursing I was doing.
I love so many things about Riley's age right now -- this nearly-3-years-old stage of silly games and weird conversations and random acts of utter hilarity -- but oh MAN it makes me crazy when my kid doesn't listen to me. He's officially old enough to FOLLOW MY COMMANDS and yet he's also officially old enough to STUBBORNLY REFUSE TO DO SO.
It was one thing when he was 18 months old and basically a horrifying combination of upright mobility + infanthood (seriously: 18 months, Worst Phase Ever) but now that he's all of three feet tall and able to call me out on my own bodily emissions ("Mommy, that sounded sumpin like a fart") I do NOT enjoy having to chase him and deploy the Maternal Eagle Claw of Death on his damn collar in order to herd him in the right direction because he's refusing to acknowledge my cries of COME HERE COME HERE HERE HERE HERE.
Truthfully, I want to be obeyed. Without question. Instantly. As though he were a tiny G.I., snapping to attention. And if that's not feasible (gosh, you think?), then at the very least I want him to understand the Motherly Line Which Shall Not Be Crossed, where my voice makes it clear we are Not Screwing Around and I Said Come Here Right Now.
This doesn't quite seem to be happening, though, and so I do the one thing that makes me sort of want to punch my own face: I nag. And repeat myself. DON'T. STOP. COME. I SAID. PUT THAT. GRAH. MRAH. ARGH.
Do you find yourself doing this too, or is your child an angelic example of perfect discipline? (And if they are, did you make use of a cattle prod during the formative years? I'm just, ah, wondering.)
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.