Because our children have much in common, Sara recommended I read The Challenging Child. All too often, we can end up focusing on Zachary’s demanding or complicated behavior without honoring it as a part of the beautiful child who will spend an hour focused on a single activity or who asks the baby if her v@gina is OK after Benjamin hits her in that vicinity with a toy. This book offers some concrete ways to positively parent five types of challenging kids, including Mr. Highly Sensitive over here.
So, I tried to put Greenspan’s recommendations into practice the other evening. You see, we have only to sets of red pajamas. Benjamin got out of the bath first and claimed the red footed ones, which the boys refer to as the “baby jamas.” Zachary decided he needed red pajamas, too; perhaps he was planning on auditioning for the stage version of Nabakov’s Pale Fire. Tragically, the red footless pajamas (“adult jamas,” maybe?) were in the washing machine, which had not even hit the rinse cycle yet.
Little Man would not be reasoned with. He wanted red pjs. He needed red pjs. J was getting frustrated, so we did the tantrum-swap and he walked away when I tagged in.
“These have red on them,” I offered.
“Not enough,” Zach replied.
“How about pink ones?”
“I want red pajamas.”
“Would you like a red shirt?” I offered.
“I want red pajamas,” he cried, desperately convinced that no other pajamas would do. To recap: two pairs of red pjs – one on his brother, the other soaking wet and locked into our front-loading washer. It was clear standing there offering substitutes would not work because there were no viable substitutes. And Greenspan cautions against simply cutting off negotiations, explaining we need to set limits while honoring that he has real feelings attached to his behavior. I needed to get down on his level and talk to him, to explain he could not have Ben’s pjs but to offer to change him later in the night or the next day or to give him first dibs the next night.
I got down on my knees to talk with him. “Ow! Oh, my god. OW!!” It would appear my knees were not responding well to my running so soon after having a baby. I was supposed to wait six months, but I just wanted so badly to be out there. Bad idea, babe. Really fucking bad idea.
And so, I am not running anymore. I am walking plenty, since Lilah has decided that she likes morning nap strapped to my chest. At least she doesn’t care what color she has on.
But, the walking appears to simply cancel out the ice cream, and I am exactly the same weight I was.
And the next night, everyone insisted on blue pajamas.