Once upon a time when I was young, naive, and blissfully unaware of the realities of parenting, I thought that it would be quite nice to have a son who was:
3) not a wimp
4) similar to me
Let me tell you what, if I could fly back through time and talk to my former self, there would be some WORDS exchanged. I would respectfully but firmly inform myself that it is NOT a good idea to have a child who is these things. And oh by the way, while I’m here, you really should think about buying some Microsoft stock.
The problem with a 4-year old who is independent, spirited, and not a wimp is that he can be INFURIATINGLY STUBBORN. The problem with a four year old who is eerily similar to me is that he can make you want to TEAR YOUR HAIR OUT in frustration and despair. I’m sorry mom and dad, really I am. I finally see what you went through. And it’s NOT pretty.
The latest battle is over THE SHIRT.
As you may or may not know, I have a slight compulsion when it comes to buying clothes for CJ. I love children’s clothes. I love European children’s clothes. I love expensive European children’s clothes. So, although I have rather significantly curbed my spending in this area, CJ still does have a nice collection of (if I say so myself) very charming and oh-so-cute tees.
Which is why I find it so completely irritating that the ONLY SHIRT that this child will wear is a blue-green t-shirt that I got at Target for $6.95. Don’t get me wrong, the shirt is FINE… it’s just not something I was expecting to see EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.
Also we run into problems when the shirt is in the laundry, which is most days of the week given that I’m always at least 15 loads behind.
So every morning we battle over THE SHIRT.
Me: Ok, time to get dressed. Look at this shirt- it has a crocodile on it! Isn’t that cool?
CJ: NO! I want my green shirt!
Me: CJ, your green shirt is dirty, so you’ll have to wear a different one.
CJ: NO! I don’t WANT a different one! I only like my green one!
Me: I know, but you green one is dirty. Here… pick out any one you like.
CJ: No! I LOVE MY GREEN SHIRT! (runs downstairs, digs through laundry pile, finds dirty green shirt and puts it on)
At this point, the story becomes a choose-your-own-adventure. We go one of two paths:
a) I have my wits about me and give up on the battle, letting CJ wear the dirty but wonderfully delightful green shirt, or
b) I refuse to give in and the battle wages on, bloody and bitter.
It’s really a pitiful scene; a scene that any young girl who is glamorizing the thought of having a baby should have to watch at least 262 times.
After hearing me go on and on about the situation, one friend asked, “Why not just buy 4 more of that same shirt?”
That WOULD be the logical thing to do. After all, what’s $27.80 compared to the complete loss of my sanity?
But if you think I will follow logic and take the path most obvious, you are in for a surprise, my friend. Did you forget that I said that CJ is just like ME? Just where exactly do you think he gets that stubborn and highly unreasonable streak from anyway?
It’s a chicken and egg thing.
I’m unreasonable back
He shouts things like “I’m not your friend any more!”
and I say things like, “I’m going to throw this shirt in the garbage!”
and the war wages on.
I have fantasies where I sneak downstairs under a cloak of darkness and pull that blue-green shirt out of the dryer. After I rough it up a little (hey! it’s caused me a lot of trouble!), I’ll throw it in a potato sack with a couple of lead weights and heave it into Puget Sound. Ha! Sleep with the fishes you blue-green pain in the [BLEEP]!
Or maybe cut it into long thin ribbons that I’ll use to knit myself a scarf. How do you like me NOW, Green Shirt?!
Or maybe I’ll burn it in a bonfire over which I’ll roast marshmallows… the sweetest roasted marshmallows ever known to a conniving, revenge-seeking momma. Burn, sucker, BURN!
Or MAYBE, just maybe, I’ll pause, take a deep breath, and look at the big picture. Oh yeah, it’s a SHIRT. Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be the ADULT in this story. Oh right, I don’t usually like other people to pick out MY clothes. Oh yeah, 80% of the stuff in my closet IS unworn (and I actually bought it)…
Maybe I’ll finally give up this silly fight and move on to bigger, more important things.
Who can say which route I’ll take.
I’ll certainly never tell.