Why, oh, why must the mama count?
When I ask my son to do something, I feel like it should be perfectly understood that I am serious. If he would just adhere to my requests the first time around, we wouldn’t engage in these battles over what I need/want him to do and what he feels like doing or thinks he desperately requires to be content. My requests are simple. Typical. Reasonable. For his well-being. For my own sanity.
Please brush your teeth.
Please put on pants. Preferably ones that match your shirt.
Please eat two more carrots. Let’s see who can crunch them the loudest!
Please stop leaping like a cat from one couch to the other.
Please stop moving the chair over by the stove and precariously balancing yourself to sneak some dum-dums out of the cupboard.
Please pick out two bedtime stories. Fine, three.
Please say sorry. We do not hurt other peoples’ feelings.
Please do not chug your chocolate milk as fast as you can so you feel justified in asking for more, out of fear that it may be months before I relent again and buy chocolate milk.
Please do not solicit me to spend another $4.99 on a small, plastic, magnetic creature (AKA Bakugan), I am already considering buying stock in them as it is.
Please, oh please, oh please do not dawdle and just put your shoes on when I ask because I AM ALWAYS RUNNING LATE AND WE HAVE TO GO NOW.
I am a counter.
It goes like this:
Aidan. Fairly pleasant voice but I mean business.
One. A bit more stern, eye contact is always necessary.
Two. I practically bark this out, it is usually the number that gets some action.
I rarely make it to three, although I do occasionally falter and say through clenched teeth, “Do not make me get to three, young man!” I don’t like to get to three. Three is a time-out, more for me than him. I am so incensed by this point that I need to set the timer for myself so I do not blow up.
I think I’ve done something wrong in the parenting department here because, as effective as the counting usually is with him, he now expects it. There is nothing that makes my blood pressure rise faster than, “Well, aren’t you gonna count, mama?” in the sassiest voice possible from my little guy, after I’ve made an undemanding request for him to pick up his cars and move them two yards down the hall to his bedroom.
I wonder if this motherhood business is encouraging more patience from me, or if I’m losing it, bit by bit. I think I’m going to start counting in other languages. Maybe this will throw him enough to just wise up and listen to his mama the first time around.
Uno. Dos. TRES!