Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Parenting 101

Oh, my son. My sweet son Milo. He is truly my son, and here's how you know it - this boy loves a craft. So when I told him that not one but two of his favorite aunties have birthdays coming up, he knew what time it was. Birthday card craft time. It was ON.

I got out Milo's craft bucket and he went to work, he and his supplies perched on the dining room table. He had a plan, and I didn't even have to do more than supervise from the kitchen counter. I cooked, he created. And then he said it.

"Mommy, my underpants are a little damp."

"Milo, why are your undies damp?"

"Well, because I pee-peed a little in them."

Ugh, potty training. Have I mentioned before that it has been the least favorite part of parenting for me, even beating out letting them cry themselves to sleep? But I try to remember that Milo is three and that accidents happen, so I let it slide.

"Okay, Milo. Go put your undies and your shorts in the laundry room. Is there more pee-pee in there? Do you need to sit on the potty?"

He declined a trip to the potty (and there was my first mistake), got himself changed, and got back to work on his crafts. At this point we was gluing googly eyes all over a card and wouldn't have even heard me if I had spoken to him. Maybe ten minutes passed, and then he said, "Mommy, there is pee-pee running down everywhere." Keep in mind, he was sitting on my dining room table.

"Excuse me, Milo? Why is there pee-pee running down everywhere?" I could already hear my voice going up in octave... "Go sit on the potty right now."

So yes, he had "dampened" another pair of shorts and undies (although there was not, as he had stated, pee-pee everywhere, so at least he had that working in his favor). I told him he had lost his shorts privileges for the morning, but that he was allowed to wear a pair of undies, and you'd have thought the world had ended. This is truly the worst punishment I could have meted out, because this boy loves his clothes. He immediately started wailing.

"Moooooooommmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyy! What you said hurt my feeeeeeeeeeeeeelings!"

I let him get it out for a minute, and then we had a serious conversation about how his decision to pee his pants twice had disappointed me, and how he needed to listen to his body and go to the potty instead of trying to finish his craft, and blah blah blah blah blah. I add the blah blah blah because I'm fairly confident that's all Milo heard, and what he interpreted was, "And now you may wear shorts and finish your craft." Imagine his surprise and disappointment when I told him that no, he did not get to wear shorts after all.

Commence wailing. Huge tears streamed down his face as he explained to me, "But Mommy, if I can't wear shorts, I just can't sit on the table, and then how will I ever finish Auntie Jen's card?"

I couldn't quite follow this logic, but it almost made sense considering how particular Milo is about certain things, so I sighed, and made him a deal. He could wear shorts, but if he peed his pants again, he was getting a straight-up spanking. We shook hands and he went on his merry, craft-finishing way. And he didn't pee his pants again.

So, two parenting lessons at work here. #1 Crafting is always more important than peeing on the potty. #2 Bargaining with your kids works at least 1% of the time. You're welcome. Have a nice day.

Jen and Dede, here are your birthday card previews.... Don't look too hard!

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