Make Him Do It!

I’m a coddler – not a cuddler (well I’m that too) but a coddler. NO BOY MOM really wants to be THAT mom who is too soft on her boys. I get that – and I thought I’d changed. I don’t run to their rescue when they fall or bump or trip or smash – depending on the cry of course. I tell them to ‘shake it off’ and keep it moving.

But he got me good… the 4-year-old that is – and I didn’t even know it!  It dawned on my one morning as I was – yes again – rushing to get dressed for work. Understandably, I dress my two-year-old because – he’s two. In the mornings, I also dressed the four-year-old because – in his desperate pleas of helplessness it’s really faster if in one fell swoop I tear off and put clothes on both of them. Bada Bing Bada Bam – we’re downstairs and almost out of the door.

But I caught myself this time. I told my 4-year-old to put on his own shirt. It’s a pullover so it shouldn’t be a problem – right? Besides he’s done this before plenty of times – I mean I don’t ALWAYS dress him. Do you know he stood there and cried and whined and faked like he couldn’t manage? 

 The clock was ticking.  The urge to snatch that shirt and rip it over his head had my skin itching – but I resisted. Images of a not-so-cute, full-grown man living in my house waiting on me to do his laundry danced in my head and talked me off the ledge.

I told him again to put that shirt on – getting more stern – but he persisted in NOT doing, his cries inching toward the ungodly decibals. I told him to go in the other room since he wanted to cry – until he could figure out how to get that shirt on. That didn’t work – he went to the other room and just meandered back with the shirt still lagging around his neck.

FINALLY, I told him that he couldn’t play with his cars until he figured out how to get the shirt on. His prized possessions, his constant comforters, and silent pals. His endless source of amusement and preoccupation – suddenly at risk of being confiscated.

Presto! He popped his shirt on faster than Lightning McQueen says CACHOW!

Victory! I should have done a dance in the end zone but I was fuming.  And I don’t know who I was more mad at – myself for being played or him for playing me! Next time, I’m going straight for the jugular – NO CARS!


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