At one moment today I thought to myself, "I truly can define good parenting in one word.... perseverance."
Seriously. Especially with Vinny lately.
This kid is such an amazing blessing and such an amazing challenge all at once. He makes me smile and makes me crazy in the same breath sometimes. For a 3.5 year old, he sure can have an attitude. He was a really good sport today through some really long errands, and didn't even complain about lacking lunch until like 2pm. Of course, when we get to a restaurant, he promptly tells the waiter, "I'm not hungry." This was fine by me, given his eating spree the day before, and I did not plan to order him anything. I was just going to share some of mine if he decided he wanted to eat. Of course, when the waiter gets there to take our order, Vinny promptly declares, "I want a hamburger and french fries." Ugh... fine. So, of course this huge burger and plate of fries comes for him, and I am thinking, "There goes a waste of $6," but no kidding, he ate like 90% of the meal. Must be a growth spurt.
When we get home, the mess of morning playtime was spread ALL OVER the living room. He wanted me to put together this new Hot Wheels toy he got, but I said that he needed to put his toys away in his room first. So what does he do? He whines for a little bit and then scoops up all of his toys and promptly DUMPS them in the doorway of his room, declares them "put away" and tells me to "put it together now." A battle ensued. It went something like this...
"Vinny, no, you need to go clean your room first."
"Moooommmmmmmmyyyyyy, cleaning my room is hard."
"I know. Life is hard."
"No, I will not help you. You made the mess by yourself; you can clean it up by yourself."
"But it's haaarrrrd."
"Vinny, stop whining."
"I'm nooooooot whiiiiiiniiiing!"
"Yes, you are, and I am done talking to you until you clean your room."
"VINNY! STOP! Do you want to go to the naughty spot?"
"Then clean your room."
A good five minutes later, he emerges and declares his room clean, which I discover means he has moved the stuff out of the doorway. It is not put away by any means. I explain this and return to the living room. The cycle starts over,
"Mommmmy, cleaning is hard."
"Life is hard."
and so on.....
About an hour and a half after the battle began, after an eventual trip to the naughty spot, a long talk, and several distractions (who can put a book away without reading it first, right?), the room was finally clean. I finally put his toy together, and he joyfully played shooting the cars around and declared the fun very worth cleaning his room.
I missed the next battle due to a meeting at church. It came at dinner time when Aunt Brenda tried to get Vinny to fill up on dinner before begging for cookies. He really thought he was going to win that one, but fortunately I am surrounded by wonderfully consistent adult family members who reinforce the values I attempt to instill in my son and Vinny ended up in the bath without dessert, knowingly so. When I said, "Did you give Aunt Brenda a hard time?" he honestly shook his head yes.
At least he knows he is being troublesome. I know that discipline pays off because I am never nervous to bring my son in public and rarely get negative reports from school, but it sure is a lot of work.