In the end it was the dog’s squeaky toy that did it. It was 22 degrees, my hair was in my face, the wee man was screeching, twisting and kicking me in the stomach, the nappy was dangerously dirty and the whole time the dog was going “SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK” right next to my knee.
“CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME?!” I bellowed as my husband and parents remained glued to the Wimbledon final. Rod sauntered out. “Let me do it,” he said in a perfectly reasonable tone, which at that point, made me want to hit him.
“All you need is something to distract him.”
Now that I’m back to my calm, reasonable self, I can see that was the perfect response. While I’ve been subconsciously using distraction with the wee man his whole life, I’ve now realised I’ve actually got to promote this tactic to a rule.
He is now two years and three months. He wants to do everything himself – eating, brushing his teeth, getting dressed, walking to nursery, driving my car – and clearly has not yet got the motor skills to do any of it properly. We battle every five minutes. He does not want to get into the bath. Then he does not want to get out of the bath. The screaming echoes beautifully in there. He does not want to eat his toast. He does want to eat my toast. He decides halfway through chewing that he does prefer his toast, so lets the mouthful fall out. Onto a clean shirt. Five minutes before we leave for nursery. Yesterday, after an almighty battle to get dressed, he ran joyfully outside and fell straight into the dog’s water bowl.
This week I’ve changed tack completely. I’ve decided to pick my battles and always to provide a distraction. I’ve prepared for this by leaving small toys and books in strategic locations around the house.
“Look, where’s your sunglasses? They’re on mummy’s face!” Snatch. I don’t pick the no-snatching battle, instead I swiftly lay him down and change his nappy while he’s trying to hook them round his ears. No bruises on my tummy. One clean bum.
“Where’s the tiger on the cards? No, that’s the lion” I lay out his favourite cards on the breakfast table and swiftly clean his teeth before he can remember to clamp down on the brush. The no-snatching battle doesn’t even start and the teeth are clean for another 12 hours.
The beauty of this tactic, I mean rule, is that it’s portable.
“No, we do not grab toys, say sorry to Arthur. Now look at this car, it goes beep beep” before the screaming and chasing after Arthur can begin.
I’m becoming a master manipulator.
I’m also realising this tactic can be applied to grownups…. But that’s another blog.