Thursday, September 16

He may have won the battle, but I will win the next battle

When I woke up this morning, I thought I'd probably clean Ethan's room up today. I had noticed various shards of leaves he'd collected, a broken vacuum hose, and some half-eaten gumdrops matted into his shag rug, and after considering for a few minutes, "What is wrong with this picture?" it occurred to me that oh, yes, Ethan's room is currently violating fourteen different health codes.

As per usual, things flew wildly out of proportion very quickly. What began as a simple vacuum job plus laundry veered rapidly into the Land of Unplanned Major Redesigns. The first time Ethan came in to ask me for juice, I was behind his crib collecting $36 in change and some broken crayons from along the floorboard (we didn't do a good job of teaching Ethan that A Savings Account Is Not a Toy, so poor in fact that Piggy now lives in a perpetual state of surrender).

The second time he came in—asking for a refill—I was accessing my core (and I knew exactly where it was, thanks to the Pilates dvd I did yesterday) to push a full, solid-wood dresser across his bedroom with the balls of my feet. "Mommy, you scawe me," he said.

Four furniture arrangements later, I settled on a new layout. Additionally, the pastel Winnie the Pooh quilt came down off the wall and was replaced by a large, framed print of a vintage Chicago Sun Times photo from an early-20th-century White Sox game. The green shag rug went the way of all flesh and in its place I unrolled a more mature, geometric patterned rug from Target.

Now that his room reflects his status as a Big Boy—confirmed by the fact that today he pooped in his potty instead of hiding under the deck where he can crap his diaper in peace—I instituted a new set of rules: He must put toys away before moving on to a new activity.

While Noah made dinner and I watched helped, Ethan asked to watch a movie. "Okay," I said. "But go clean up your toys first."

"No way."

"Ethan. You need to go put your toys away."

"No way; me watch moofie."

"You can watch a movie as soon as you put away your toys."

"No Mommy haftoo tell me hassin aggee MY LIFE!"

This went on for several minutes, me sitting at the table and Ethan stomping naked around the kitchen shouting  toddlerish I couldn't understand but injecting "my life" frequently, which gave me the sense that he was rebelling.

In the end, I showed him there's a new sheriff in town by picking everything up and putting it where it belonged, all while making him stand there and watch. So I WIN.

8 comments:

Sal said...

How does a toddler even pick up the phrase "my life"? Have you been playing old Billy Joel records for him, or what?

Lish said...

And so does he.
Man, I love little boys. SOOOOOO different from little girls.

My 4 year old nephew is convinced that, because we have used the "You're such a big boy!" throughout potty changing, getting over temper tantrums, and random weigh-ins at the doctor, that he now is totally in charge of his own life.
It's fairly common to hear, "You can't make me! I'm BIG! I weigh FORTY POUNDS!!"

Sounds like you have a budding grownup on your hands as well.

By the way, best line ever:
"...so poor in fact that Piggy now lives in a perpetual state of surrender"
Story of my life.

Dawn Simon said...

I enjoyed your post. Very fun. :)

Lt said...

You lost me at the White Sox. Really? All the time I've been reading you, I would have figured Cubbie blue. A little dissapointed, I am.

Funny post. Even the title brought a smile.

stephanie said...

it's posts like this that make me want to have kids. kinda. :) ethan is adorable!

Rachel H said...

Erin, this is hilarious because it is my life on a daily basis. My son is great about "picking up" - probably because he never plays with his toys and is always on the Wii. BUT my daughter is a mess! Her room is ridiculously trashed all the time. We call her "Josie Grossie" from the movie Never Been Kissed. Good laugh today - thanks!

Erin said...

Sal--Bon Jovi, actually.

Lish--If only weight were an indication of maturity.

Dawn Simon--Thanks!

Lt--The Chubs? Nah. And I have to confess, the title is an Andy Bernard original.

stephanie--He IS adorable. I'll even let you babysit for free if you want.

Rachel H--Josie Grossie! Hilarious! Today Ethan turned over the stool in his room and scattered a few papers, then called in Noah to tell him, "Daddy, my woom messy!"

Jen said...

Oh I love it :) I finally got everyone cleaning up today by giving them 15 minutes, at which point everything was going in the trash - and lo and behold, IT WORKED! William took charge and swish swish swish the room was clean!

My advice - never let them win a battle - it will just teach them to hold out until the bitter end, when you finally cave :) Not that I take my OWN advice. Just sayin'.

Let me know if you run the 13.1 here! Maybe I'll join you! (If you want to run with a slow old lady...)

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