In like a Lion, out like a Lamb

April 7, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An apt description of the comings and goings of spring and the fickle attitudes of certain five-year-olds. Let me start by saying I’ve just recovered from the worst stomach flu I’ve had in years, so I had about zero patience this morning. Liam is fully recovered, as far as I can tell. Every morning he picks out his clothes and puts them on. But this morning…THIS MORNING…first the shirt wasn’t right, then the pants weren’t right, then he said his mouth hurt (which somehow affected the use of his arms and legs), so he couldn’t get dressed. Three times I left him in his room with instructions to get his own clothes on, and three times I found him lying on the floor naked and throwing a fit. Screaming ensued. I finally dressed him myself, and he knows the consequence of that: No TV for the day.

Then it was breakfast. Somehow he got it in his head that I could make colored waffles for him. Something to do with the book we read last night. I explained to him 15 times that I couldn’t dye Eggo waffles, and he wouldn’t drop it. Wouldn’t eat. Wouldn’t stop screaming. Wouldn’t sit in time out. Screaming ensued. Finally I dug out some food coloring and dropped a few drops on his waffle. THERE! And he ate. Grumbling about no cartoons. Shut up and eat, you little brat. (And, no, I didn’t say that. But my look was saying it.)

I glanced at the clock. Three more hours until preschool starts. Sigh.

Relative peace until lunchtime. Oh, lunchtime. It’s always a crunch because we have to finish and get out the door to make it to school on time. So everyday I’m always on him about the time, where the big hand will be when we have to be finished, and if he doesn’t finish in time, no treats. I said it, seriously, five times. I warned him he was past time, that we had to get shoes on right now. He triumphantly finished his last freeze-dried pea, then asked for a treat. Then demanded it. Then screamed it. And I lost it. Picked up kid, more screaming, socks and shoes crammed on, crying kid in the car. And wouldn’t you know the little SOB was smiling and laughing by the time we got to school. It was his turn to be leader and bring snack. I couldn’t get him in the door fast enough.

Did I say I love five? I meant I LOATHE five.

Two and a half hours of peace, and I felt considerably calmer. My stomach was churning, though, so I explained to Liam on the way home that mommy was going to have to lie down for a bit. And, of course, the whining. But I want someone to plaaaayyy with me. We got home and when he got out of the car he left the car door open. We’ve been working on this for the past few weeks, and every day he’s been very good about closing his own car door. But (surprise!), not today. I asked him in my most calm, polite, mommy-means-business voice, “Liam, you’re forgetting something. Please close the car door.” And he refused. So I told him, “Fine, I’ll close the door, but that means I won’t be playing with you.” And he told me he didn’t care. Fine. Whatever.

But after snack and homework, he had a change of heart. First whining, then pleading, then screaming. Play with me!!! I put him in his room and shut the door. He kept getting out and finding me. More screaming ensued. And then I just ran upstairs and locked myself in the bedroom. For 45 minutes.

It was actually kind of hilarious.

At first he was puzzled. Why. Won’t. This. Doorknob. Turn? Then he’d run in the other room and collapse on the floor in tears. Then when he heard I wasn’t taking the bait, he’d come back. He’d talk to himself, “Maybe it’s unlocked now. Let me try it again.” Then he’d try it and run screaming in the other room. He did that, like, five times. Then he started knocking. “Open this door, mommy!” Then pounding. Then screaming. During a lull I told him I’d be happy to let him in if he’d calm down and treat me nicely.

Like I said. 45 minutes.

Finally he stopped pounding and his screams subsided. I opened the door, walked right past him, and started folding laundry downstairs. Not a word. Eventually he came downstairs, sat on the couch, and begrudging asked me to play. I told him to ask nicely. “Will you pretty please play with me now?” I said for five minutes, and then I had laundry to do. We built a marble track, did a few runs, and then I folded laundry and he played on his own. Quietly. Peacefully.

Then James came home. And he could hardly believe that sweet little Liam, who was contentedly talking to himself and playing on his own, had been such an utter brat today.

But at dinner, when I fully expected the fit to end all fits, a perfect cap to our week-long
fit-tastic dinner routine, not a single tear was spilt. Say what, now? For the first time in a week (save for the couple of days of flu recovery), he sat at the table without complaint and ate almost everything on his plate. He even ate three green beans. Holy cow! A first! I had to bribe him with dessert, but considering this is the farthest we’ve gotten with him all week, I figured it was warranted.

And now he’s my perfect angel. Potty, bath and bedtime routine followed to the letter. All please’s and thank you’s. My sweet little Liam.

Did I say I loathe five? I meant…actually, I really don’t know how I feel about it now. Motherhood is hard.


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