Friday, July 25, 2008

A battle of wills in which no one wins

At daycare this morning, we were in the baby room dropping off Gianluca. Paolo was playing chase with a kid in there who has Forrest-Gump-style leg braces. The kid is a ball of sunshine and damn quick for having to lug those things around. As I was finishing up getting Luca settled, I told Paolo he had to let the baby catch him once before we left the room.




Yes. That is how you be nice to babies, and you will be nice to this baby. Now.


By this time, since Paolo was standing still, the baby wasn’t chasing him anymore. I told Paolo to say goodbye to the baby so we could go to Paolo’s classroom.


Say. Goodbye. To. The. Baby.


I had no idea this was a hill Paolo was prepared to die on. I threatened the first thing that came to mind: I told him I’d take his swim clothes with me so he couldn’t participate in Water Day with his classmates. He made a tragic face but wouldn’t budge. I scolded, cajoled, counted to three, and then gave up and pushed him out of the baby room. I don’t even want to know what the two teachers in there thought of our ridiculous exchange. There we were fighting to the death over social niceties between a five-year-old and a baby with the attention span of a goldfish. I knew how little it mattered, but once it started, I couldn’t back down. “Consistency in Parenting” and all that.

In Paolo’s classroom, I explained that I wouldn’t take his swim gear with me, but I WOULD take his “ticket.” He’d found a dollar bill on the sidewalk yesterday and was eagerly waiting for the weekend to buy a toy with it. Well, that started the tears. I hated doing this. I HATED it. I hated myself, I hated parenting, I hated this stupid situation. So I did something I’m pretty sure a better parent wouldn’t have. I asked Paolo, if he had one more chance, would he do things differently, would he say goodbye to that baby? I was prepared to take him back into the baby room, let him grunt at little Forrest, and all would be forgiven. But what was Paolo’s response, through his lost-ticket tears? No.

1 comment:

deb said...

wow. i wonder where he gets his stubborn streak.