The day has come when I’m not sure if my soon to be 3 year-old is mocking me like a pre-pubescent, smart-ass kid, or if I’ve just said the line that follows below so many times he’s got his timing down like one of the actors from The Office.
Here’s the scene: Monkey Man is no longer big into napping. I guess he’s realized that he can drive his mother and father crazy for another 1.5 hours out of the day, so hey, why not?
He agreed to napping on his bedroom floor last week. I guess it was the novelty of something totally different and he actually did sleep. So yesterday, I offered the floor again, with great gusto, in my best “WOW ISN’T THIS THE COOLEST THING EVER! YOU GET TO SLEEP ON A HARDWOOD FLOOR WITH THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE AREA RUG!” voice. He snuggled in to his pillow and blanket then I left the room, ready for a bit of quiet and some downtime from my what can seem like an endless question and answer period (I expect him to appear one day in the audience of Inside the Actor’s Studio, better yet, to replace James Lipton, because man, can this kid ask questions). As my right foot’s big toe hit the first step on my descent into Quietsville, I heard, “Mommy, can I sleep in your bed?”
I pivoted at attention like the good Mommy Soldier that I am, marched into his room, and against all that I believe in (meaning giving in to this child – my stubbornness ranks up there with donkeys and oxes) I said, “Yes, you may. But you will stay in the bed and not get up.” Sweet, obedient child says, “Yes, I will stay in the bed and take a nap.”
Take 2: Tuck into bed, I’m out the door and I hear, “Mommy, I have a problem.” I turn around and look at the little cherub whose only problem is that his mother keeps getting closer to a peaceful cup of tea but cannot quite reach that nirvana. Now here comes the line:
Me: Staring at Monkey Man
Monkey Man: “You have TWO choices – you can either stay in this bed to nap or sleep in your bedroom.”
Me: I look away because I’m ready to break out into hysterics! I have been giving him this two choices line since he was about 18 months-old and it has worked quite well. I give him two of my choices then he picks one. I’m no psychologist, but I guess it makes him feel like he has some kind of control in having a choice, even though they are technically my choices. Ah, the power I have.
Me: “What is your choice?”
Monkey Man: “I will sleep in my bedroom.”
Back into his bedroom we march, tuck in, kiss, hug, love you. I’m out the door. I see my husband and I try my child psychology on him. “You have two choices: You can send me on a 15 year vacation or you can run away with the kid and I promise not to put your face on a milk carton.”