Debating with a toddler sucks. I just want Erin to obey my every command…is that too much to ask??
Are you one of the millions of people who sat through the agonizing pain of watching the Presidential debates? Unfortunately, I am too. After the second debate, I began to notice some similarities between the behavior of the candidates and Erin’s behavior. They don’t listen, they interrupt and they lie! When debating a topic with a toddler, you should expect to experience one if not all of these behavior patterns.
When I feel a debate brewing, I ask myself, do I really want to spend the little free time I have arguing with Erin about eating dinner, picking out clothes or her frequency of trips to the bathroom? Or do I just let her eat oreos and ice pops morning, noon and night in her Elsa dress while holding in her pee?
It will be a cold day in hell before Erin actually listens to me and does what I ask THE FIRST TIME. She either blatantly ignores me or starts the debate. An example of a debate that occurs every night is eating dinner. It doesn’t matter what I serve, I just now know that the next hour of my life will be hell.
I usually start dinnertime by telling Erin that she has to sit down and not get up until she is finished. Boundaries, perhaps my first mistake. Last week, as per Erin’s request, we were watching Pitch Perfect during dinner, again. We barely even began eating before she demanded her Bella outfit (American Flag scarf, tutu and my high heels), sprung up, got dressed and began her “I saw the sign” routine, all while completely blocking out my stern begging to sit back down. It didn’t matter what I said for the next three minutes, she was intent on finishing her routine and not hearing a single word of it. Dinner was a 2 hour event this night.
Another common debate in our household is which outfit Erin will wear for the day. This all began about a year ago. My husband would sit Erin in front of her closet and point to outfits until she said yes and then, voila, that’s what she would get to wear. Thanks husband, for setting us up for disaster. I, however, show Erin before bedtime the outfit she WILL wear the next day. As I’m explaining to her why I picked things out I’m interrupted with, “How about Elsa Dress?!” It’s Groundhog Day meets Fashion Police. This debate is usually one I pass on and prefer to send her to preschool in her Elsa dress every day if it gives me 5 extra minutes to savor my morning coffee.
And the lies. If Erin uses the potty (read my last post) and scurries out before I check the scene, I will ask if she washed her hands and wiped to which she replies “yes” before I even finish the question. She runs back to whichever activity she was immersed in before the mad dash to the potty, I inspect her unwashed paws, and send her back to the sink. Every. Single. Time. And then at bath time I find out she was lying about wiping too, because…skid marks.
Similar to the presidential debates, whether my husband and I make it through a toddler debate or not, the conclusion is always the same: we’re totally f*cked.