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Monday, June 20, 2011

The Battles Ensue

We've all been told to "pick our battles," and this is probably the Golden Rule of parenting.  Being a parent is all about give-and . . .well, give.  It's an excellent lesson is choosing which battles to fight, and which ones to leave alone.  Parenting is practically a synonym for compromise, except that you're the one doing most of the compromising.  Finally, parenting is all about choice.  For instance, when you have a newborn, you often have to make choices that involve some sort of compromise.  Do I take a shower and wash this spit-up out of my hair, or do I take a nap?  Which really means: Do I compromise sleep or cleanliness?  Unfortunately, trying to do both never seems to work out.

Lately, my parenting battles are a little more interesting (And by interesting, I mean entertaining to the general public).  I'm elated that my three-year-old is willing to dress himself.  It's just one less thing I have to worry about in the morning.  However, it would appear that he is not an expert in style (or matching for that matter).  So, which battle do I fight; trying to get him to dress himself, or trying to get him to match?  I choose to pretend that the matching battle doesn't even exist.  Oh, honey, that outfit is great.  You did such a good job of dressing yourself.

Gavin's most recent fashion statement.
Toddlers love to be autonomous; so "good" parenting is all about giving them choices.  Often, these choices tend to eat up a little more of my time, but I guess I'd rather lose time and spare myself the enjoyment of a thirty-minute-kicking-screaming-wailing temper tantrum.  Lately, Gavin's choices include: which door of the car he's going to exit from (Usually the trunk.  And, no, I don't put my kid in the trunk.  I have an SUV.), which part of the grocery cart he's going to ride in (Lately, this is underside of the cart.  A lot of people laugh when they see this; many shake their heads in disgust and think, "I would never let my child do that."), which shirt or shoes he's going to wear, what he's going to have for a snack, and so on. 

All of these choices are really tiny little battles that I'm choosing not to fight.  I'd really like for him to just get out of the car quickly, but I'm compromising by giving him the choice to crawl out the back - even though this generally adds five minutes to the getting-out-of-the-car process.  I'd rather he just sit in the front of the grocery cart, like a normal child, but I'm willing to let him sit where he wants.  (Plus, riding on the underside of the cart looks, well, fun.  I'd do it if I could.)  In a perfect world, he'd just eat whatever snack I prepared for him, but he likes to choose it for himself.  (I have had to limit his choices.  I mean, the kid would seriously eat fruit snacks for every meal and snack if I allowed him to).

The good news is, he's happy when I let him choose rather than forcing something upon him.  The bad news is, I have to take him out in public wearing mismatched outfits, carrying his favorite six toys, and eating two packages of fruit snacks.  But, I'd rather deal with the stares of disapproval than try to grocery shop with a screaming toddler. 

1 comment:

  1. OMG *hugs* Love it! you are one awesome momma!
    I still to this day just pretend that I dont notice when the kids have their clothing on backwards (hey, I lived through the 80's) or that Dee still wants to wear her princess dresses around town. I dont think I own "matching" socks for the Little man, and If I did, he would never wear them anyway.