It looks like non-nappenings are being added to our list of Battles with the Bean. Neither myself nor Mr P&P are particularly combative people. We’ve both naturally tended to adopt a parenting approach (i.e. totally wing it while telling ourselves we have carefully considered all aspects of our role as more responsible and mature beings) that takes the battle out of the baby and toddler happenings. We let him wean himself, we never sleep-trained, we didn’t bother with schedules (although that was partially because I didn’t know how). At 2 years and 3 months he decides himself when he goes to bed. We try not to say “no” unless it’s absolutely necessary, we try not to force him to do things he doesn’t want to, we try to gently put in place boundaries that are logical. We try so very hard.
And yet, despite our best efforts it seems that toddlers were born to prod, provoke, pique. Why else would this happen:
Toddler smacks spoon on table and in what I believe to be a stroke of parenting genius and magnanimity combined, I suggest he goes and does some drumming instead.
He does indeed stop hitting the table, but before we know it we’re sharing it with a drum, a tambourine and a xylophone.
And the toddler sits there with a look of “what?” and I have to concede: yes, what? Everything? Nothing? I have no bloody idea but somehow I still feel like you’ve got one over on me.
Because it also seems that our own primal instincts are not to be duck-like and let it all glide off our backs but to say, “bring it on, Beanface”. To feel the stress levels rise, to want to exert some of control. Not giving in to that - because I don’t think we should - is a daily battle in itself.
Some of the other things are we’re 'working on', with varying degrees of success:
Getting dressed. Not just in the morning but at any time of day/night. In the morning he screams because he won’t take off his PJs, in the evening he screams because he won’t put them on. We thought for a while that letting him pick and put on his own clothes had solved it, but he’s over that already. Butt-naked is way better than dressed, clearly.
Bean 1 - 0 Parents
Stalling. I swear to god, I could tempt him with the most awesome of awesomeness with extra crisps AND chocolate thrown in, but if it doesn’t smack him in the face RIGHT NOW he ain’t bothered. He stalls, he faffs, he does everything possible to put off the awesomeness. I cannot fathom it.
Bean 1 - 0 Parents
Trying “strange” foods. Dare I say, in the tiniest of voices, that we may be making some headway here? The nursery staff have convinced him to eat spinach and fennel, fennel! (don’t ask me how) and for two days running now he’s eaten new things at home too. New things with odd smells and strong flavours. There are still just as many other things he turns his nose up at immediately, but hey: Bean 1 - 1 Parents and by god I’LL TAKE THAT.
Dummy use. We lose. 100%.
Manners and kindness. Another mixed bag, this. Pleases and thank yous are coming on very nicely, and occasionally there’s a heartfelt sorry after a building block to the head. But sometimes we’ll get another block to the neh-nehs, and there is still way too much shouting for chocolate for my liking.
Bean 1 - 1 Parents
Anyway. It’s now 20:15 P.M. and one cup of tea and a sit-down later I’m starting to feel better. I’ve had to go in and soothe him after a night terror, and already I’ve forgiven him and more: he’s only two, a pretty darn terrific two. My Two, my boy, my Bean. How I wish I didn’t feel like I was fighting you all the time, because it feels like I'm failing you and in many ways I’d gladly let you win. Really I would. Just don’t hit me with a non-nappening Sunday again, okay?