” Hand or buggy, your choice”
Mémère to the rescue
A few weeks back, my parents came over for a visit ( same weekend as the midnight-snack incident), and we took a stroll to the local Home Depot. We had a buggy but he wanted out, there was a lot of pent-up energy that he wanted released. We were all in the trim section and he tried to walk away. I asked for his hand, he refused and ran off. My mom told me to put him in the buggy if he didn’t want to listen. I responded, “but he doesn’t want to”. I knew it was a stupid answer the minute it came out of my mouth, but the look on her face reinforced it. We placed munchkin back in the buggy and told him he was here because he didn’t hold my hand when I asked him. He yelled and kicked. Mémère took the buggy, and munchkin, for a walk around the store to calm him down. A few distractions here and there and he stopped yelling. When they returned, he had the biggest pout, but he wasn’t protesting his situation.
Don’t be that person
The next morning we had to go to the pharmacy for a prescription. Mémère and I went with munchkin. We had to wait 15 minutes for the prescription to be ready so we looked around. He didn’t want to stay in my arms and didn’t want to hold my hand so we had a little argument. I told him if he did’t quiet down and hold my hand, he would wait in the car with Mémère.
This rude old woman came up to me and scolded me about my parent skills, “his screaming is bothering me so you should put him in the car. I’m old and can’t handle that kind of yelling. Get him under control”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I am trying to discipline my child because he feels I am ignoring him and wants to run around, and you are distracting me with your personal problems. His screaming didn’t get any better while she was there, I was too busy telling her to go away – I couldn’t focus on him. He took my distraction as a sign that I would allow him to continue his behavior, and it got worst. Don’t be that person. Nobody likes that person.
Mémère took him from me because I was starting to get upset and nothing good happens when the disciplinarian is upset. I could hear her tell him that he was going to sit in the car at the count of three if he didn’t stop screaming and kicking. He shouted “mommy”, of course. She told him that he could be with me in a few minutes, when he calmed down – if he didn’t calm down, he would be in the car. He responded with a “mommy!!” She said one. He shut up and hugged her. Baby whisperer strikes again.
Goodbye, my savior
They left that afternoon and munchkin had a much needed nap. We went for a walk in the wagon and he wanted to walk beside it at some point. I let him out of the wagon, on the condition that he held my hand while we walked. He refused my hand when his feet touched ground. I reminded him, “hold my hand or you go back in the wagon”. I waited for an answer. He shoot his hand out in front of me and said “hand”. Munchkin had decided that he wanted to walk and this was the only way he could do it. He tried letting go a few times but I reminded him of our conversation, hand or wagon.
Nobody puts baby in a corner
The key is to remain calm and confident. It is easier said than done, especially when it comes to your own child. You don’t always see little habits forming, but a fresh pair of eyes are more than happy to bring it to your attention – with good intentions I hope. Keeping calm shows the child that you are in control of the situation and will not compromise on your ruling.
Letting the child feel like they have a choice also helps when they are as stubborn, or difficult, as mine can be. Instead of telling them what to do, you are narrowly giving them options, both of which are acceptable to you. I don’t care either way if he wants to walk or sit, he just needs to be safe. By letting him decide which he would prefer, I am allowing him to take control of the situation, while still maintaining ultimate authority. He thinks he won because he did as I asked, and I know I won because he did as I asked.