I'm inflicting great hardship on my two-year-old son. I want him to say "please." He'd rather point and bark out orders. "Get me my chocolate milk, wench!"
Well, who died and left him lord of the realm?
"You. Get. Chocolate. Milk. NOW."
Obviously he fears my authority and is always more than willing to comply. I try to pry his sticky fingers from my calf because he has thrown himself at my feet and is endeavoring to control me by cutting off the blood to my varicose veins.
What's a mom to do? Shrug and drag my leg behind me as I make my way to his room. Suddenly, he is up and running full speed in the opposite direction. "No time out! NO TIME OUT!"
While I am wrangling him back to his room, it occurs to me that none of the classes I took in high school or college prepared me for this. What good is Shakespeare now? Who cares what the purpose of an imaginary number is? The only writing around here is on the wall and it's a far cry from a sonnet. The only imaginary numbers I count daily are the cookies I think are still in the cookie pot. But they're not. And I should know better, but I keep looking in the cookie jar as if it will suddenly refill itself.
I think my two-year-old son and I have a lot in common. We both demand that the other does what we want NOW. We'd both rather eat cookies all morning long instead of doing chores… and why not? All the other kids are in school. They'd be scandalized if they knew and also would be a bit envious.
So I try to negotiate with him. BIG MISTAKE. The Mother's Manual says: NEVER negotiate with a hostage taker. Yes, he is a hostage taker. He snatched my sanity when I wasn't looking and he stuffed it in the crevice between the wall and his mattress, somewhere under a goobery, well-loved toy dog.
I've been trying to get it back for months.
"PLEASE. Give Mommy back her sanity. Please?"
Why THAT word? I know he's asserting himself and becoming a more independent twerp, but why "NO!"? Why not "YES!"?
Because that would be too easy. Too positive. Too harmonious. And we can't have that.
I'd even settle for: "Maybe!" But no such luck.
So, I broke the rules and "negotiated."
"If you want milk, you need to say ‘please'."
Big grin. "COOKIE PLEASE!"
I just HAD to give it to him.