Do you ever have a moment when you get a little cocky as a parent? When you think you know your child so well that you know what they would do in any given circumstance? Put that way, anyone who says yes is nuts, in my opinion!
Alas, I fall victim to this from time to time. Early on I learned that offering choices makes life a lot easier with my (no so) little Monkey. Shortly after learning this lesson I learned another one, always make sure that ALL of the choices you offer are acceptable choices! That was a hard learned lesson. I never promise anything I can’t deliver…and sometimes I deliver more than I thought I could. I like those moments. Those are the moments I look like a hero. Those are the moments that make C’s face light up with joy, like when he asks for a jet pack and I pull out the inflatable wings from his Buzz Lightyear costume that had been abandoned in the basement without ever being worn for its intended purpose (Halloween.) I live for those moments.
I’ve become so accustomed to giving him choices that anything that I truly don’t care about…he gets to pick. Wide open. “Caleb, pick a cereal.” I don’t care, I won’t eat it. If I think he won’t like what he chooses I’ll tell him but it’s his choice. I even let him pick my clothes. He’s got good taste and as long as he’s picking from my “work” clothes…meh…it doesn’t matter to me. He’s gotten so used to dressing me that sometimes, when I get dressed without consulting him, he will grab my elbow and guide me back to the bedroom and fix whatever I got wrong. Usually everything. I think he’s just being oppositional, personally…I thought I looked fine.
There are some things I let him pick that I do actually care about, and that’s when I give him limited options. “Caleb, which ice cream? Cookie dough or S’mores?” Sure, I have a preference but either will work and if it keeps him from bolting to the front of the grocery store to stare at the people in the self check-out line? Win. Especially since he is like a shark circling and darts in to steal their receipts as soon as they print. Poor schmucks never even know what hit them…they just see a whirl of curly hair buzz by them and hear “I did it!” fading into the distance. Fortunately, most people are very nice when I walk sheepishly over to them with the receipt in hand. *sigh*
There are some things that I let him pick that I do actually care about, and I always give him the same options. “Caleb, which deodorant for Mommy? Blue or Pink?” He always, always, always, always picks pink, which is fine. I don’t mind smelling all flowery and girly. Last week, Mommy got distracted while at the drug store…I don’t know what it was, probably Facebook, maybe texts or e-mail…it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Mommy was not present when she presented the choices.
“Caleb, which deodorant for Mommy?”
“White.” And he shoved two sticks in my hands, which is when I put the phone down…my choices, though not given verbally, were either I take the deodorant or watch it fall on the ground.
“White. All done! Good job! Good job!”
Huh. OK. White it is. “Good job, buddy!”
How bad could it be? You know what white is? Not baby powder, which I could have dealt with. Nope…it’s vanilla. I smell like a freaking cookie. It’s the one scent guaranteed to make my stomach growl in hunger every damn time I catch a whiff.
There are worse consequences though. Maybe next time Mommy will pay full attention when she’s offering up choices and not assume he will always, always, always do anything.