When manipulation works, and when it doesn’t
The thing I love about Lawrence is that he does as he’s told right now. With the exception of the old sleeping when he should malarky, as he’s not fully crawling right now (I’m beginning to think he will, he refuses too and bum shuffles if he needs something and Theo wont bring to him), I can put him wherever I want, and within reason he stays where he is. I love this stage, he can sit and play with a toy, but he can’t move. HA HA.
Theodore on the other hand is full of opinions. From the minute he wakes up, until the minute he goes to sleep he has an opinion on EVERYTHING. What he’s going to wear for the day (high up sleeves usually), which shoes, which pants (Buzz and Woody ones of course), what he’s having for breakfast (Weetabix with Unny not with Nana), what he’s having for lunch and dinner (Beans, Beans and Beans), and even what I’m going to wear. 80% of the time it’s an amusing little quirk that makes you smile. It’s nice he’s developing his own character, but of course, as with every three year old, it’s not the opinion that really matters it’s how much they believe it’s going to happen.
For example – if he’s obsessed with a certain item of clothing – i.e. the Toy Story t.shirt we bought yesterday. He loved it so much I had to put it on him in the car park of the soft play and ask the girls behind the counter for the scissors to cut the label off. I had to wipe the beans off it last night with a baby wipe so he could wear it today *cough*. So I KNOW tomorrow he will want to wear it. I will not be washing it over night, so tomorrow will result in manipulation for the t.shirt. I’m hoping the distraction of Buzz pants will help, as the distraction of the t.shirt this morning helped with the fact he had to wear Peppa Pig pants this morning.
I’ve found the technique of raising a toddler has been helped with what I learnt in the office enviroment, working with a testosterone charged wannabe is actually very similar to raising a 2 or 3 year old. Your day is spent manipulating, cajoling and generally letting them think the idea was actually theirs. This is what most of the weekend was spent doing. I’m becoming an expert, it helps calm tantrums, however, it doesn’t always work – often in the scenario of over tired/over hungry/over spoilt.
An example of when it backfired was on Sunday. We had a lovely day, we went to the “plub” as The Beast calls it with some friends and their daughter. We then wait to a charity cricket match where he met Peppa Pig, played in the park and generally got over tired. When it was time to leave he really didn’t want to. The bottom lip was firmly out, and so we made a bargain. We promised him we’d go home and get his ride on tractor. He attempted on numerous occasions to clarify that we were bringing the tractor back to play on the masses of grass, each time we tip-toed around the answer. The general conversation was
HIM: “we going home to get my tractor?”
US: “yeap, we’re going to go home, have a quick dinner then play on the tractor”
HIM: “back at the fair on the big grass” (what he called the charity event)
US: “well, on some big grass yes – after dinner”
Of course, when we got home he decided he wasn’t hungry, and whilst fatso ate all his pasta and sauce, The Beast sat for an hour and a bit refusing dinner, telling me he’d eat it “in a minit”. The minute dragged, and melt down ensued, when during perhaps what was not one of my finest parenting moments, I gave Larry chocolate pudding because he ate all his dinner and told him he could play on the tractor.
The end result was a small child in the hall kicking and screaming on the floor. On hindsight – I guess it wasn’t an unsuccessful manipulation as such, after all the tantrum which was all wanted to avoid happened behind closed doors and nobody but us saw it (and the neighbours probably heard it). Day to day manipulation techniques tend to be:
– opening the window in the bedroom so he realises it’s cold and wears “low down” sleeves with a bit of grace.
– promising chocolate if we achieve something
– referring to something as “big boy” or “baby” to get desired reaction
– saying “bye bye” and hiding around the corner when he refuses to come somewhere.
I’ve read up….I’m not exactly proud of who I’ve become.