Hard Way, Easy Way

Let’s have one of those Mommy-of-the-Year awards right over here, shall we?

Walking to the bus with Cameron has become a whinefest, from the moment we’re out the door until we get onto the bus. Constant whining, or worse, screaming. Generally he’ll hold my hand and trot along reluctantly, but some days I’m holding his arm and hauling him. I am so tired of it. I dread going out the door in the morning.

Today I thought it would be different. The sun was shining, we were going to a playgym he loves (it has a bouncy castle) with promise of hot chocolate. Even still, it had taken forever to get him out the door – he did NOT want to get his coat on, he hit me as I tried to get his sweater on him, he ran away at the sight of his shoes. I was determined, we were going stir crazy already at home, and we both needed desperately to get out. So I was in a growlish mood.

Sure enough, we got to the sidewalk, and Cameron offered up his arm, refused to hold my hand and insisted, “Hard way, Mommy!” This is a reference to the choice I sometimes give him, hard way or easy way. We started walking, and the whining started, on cue, in a way that sounded deliberate. So I stopped, told him this was not okay, and started again. Again, he did not want to hold my hand, wanted to be pulled while he whined. Another stop to explain that no, this wasn’t okay. Nothing would make him walk without this rehearsed stage-whine, and I didn’t feel like listening to it. So at the next “hard way, Mommy!” I grabbed his arm and hauled him home, the whole two houses’ worth of distance we’d made. He stopped the stage-whine and started sobbing and howling, that he wanted to stay home, he didn’t want to be outside. “FINE!” I snapped, hauled him up the stairs, shoes off, coat off, into his room. Where he stayed, sobbing, curled up with his blanket. Yep, I was pissed off. It took me around 20 minutes to stop wanting to slam doors and throw things – I really needed to get out, and can’t stand the whining. I especially couldn’t stand the idea that he seemed to think that he must whine, whether he really didn’t want to walk or not, even when I made it clear that I wanted him to stop.

Okay, let’s flash back an hour to when I was trying to get him dressed. I made a game of it, since he didn’t seem to want to get dressed. It was either play or deal with whining if I wanted to get him out the door. So as I had him upside down, getting his PJ pants off to the tune of giggles, I commented that this was a hard way to get him into his clothes.

Oops. Hard way = fun way.

When Cameron held out his arm and asked for the hard way, he thought he was asking for a fun walk. And instead he got snarls, yelling, a return home, and a major time out in his room.

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