Learning to Say No and Accept it

I wonder if other kids are the same but Calvin has a hard time taking no for an answer. This morning, I woke up early and went downstairs. I just started the kettle to boil when I heard Calvin wake up. When I went upstairs, I found him in the bathroom, getting the potty seat all ready so I went to look at him and see if he needed help. “I only want papa to be here”, said a strident voice. “Ok, I’ll go then but papa is sleeping so he can’t come so you’ll have to do it by yourself.” Then a lot of loud protesting from the little man ensued. He stubbornly stood on the stool. He even pulled down his diaper and pants and just soon there refusing to sit down. “I can’t sit down unless papa is here”. This coming from a boy who can do it perfectly well normally. So I went to the bedroom and decided I might as well get some nice couple time hugs while the battle ensues. After a long silence, it sounded like he got off the stool. Without sitting down on the potty. He declared “I’m going to leave this house”. I was a little alarmed. Where do little kids learn things like that anyway?!? So off I went to detain him at the stairs. “We can’t go down until we’ve brushed our teeth and used the potty. After that we can go downstairs”. I managed to calm him down with my surprisingly zen, non-confrontational reaffirmation of his emotions – yes, you are angry because papa didn’t come and help etc. He stomped hard a few times to show he was very angry, then was suddenly defused. Sometimes I’m surprised too at how well this method works. So every time I have the urge to berate him for being silly, I remind myself to treat him kindly and acknowledge that he’s a little man with difficult emotions to handle and most of the time I was rewarded by the return of my happy silly boy again.

I can’t remember what happened now but his temper erupted again in the morning over what I must have thought was a trivial thing since I can’t remember why. Then he started throwing his toys and I had to give him the bad cop face and told him I was going to throw that toy away as promised. He immediately told me he was sorry and promised he won’t do it again. Except it again happened in the evening. He wanted all of us to go downstairs together but I was so tired I just wanted to rest in bed a little while. He threw his little toy cement mixer on the bed and this time I was adamant about getting rid of it. He tried saying sorry, thinking it’s some magic phrase that restores all brownie points. He tried pleading. He tried to hide the toy. In the end, his papa felt bad for him and said we’ll give him one last chance. If he ever throws any of his toys again, we’ll take away two toys.

Some days I just feel like I’m so exhausted from running around with him and then cooking for a whole hour in the hot kitchen after that, that the zen juice in me just isn’t flowing. Sometimes I wish I could be kind and wise and wonderful and be able to keep him a happy boy. On the other hand, I also wish to teach him good lessons that he won’t forget quickly. We’ll see if this really all worked out. I dread to have to actually take away his toys from him because he’s so attached Toni’s possessions. Just think of the time when I sold off his baby toys and he never stopped reminding me that I took away his toys every day for a whole month!

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