There are a lot of memes and snarky parenting phrases about how small children are essentially terrorists. Their unrelenting demands, holding their good behavior hostage, the inability to reason…I get the similarities. As Cade’s vocabulary expands like a mushroom cloud we’ve had our fair share of obstinate verbal battles often with wailing and gnashing of teeth (mostly on his part…mostly…) but for the most part I don’t just negotiate with his demands, I flat out give in. Here’s why:
His current favorite demand is “HUG!” He’ll spring it on me at odd times (in the middle of dishes, outside in the sandbox, when I’m nursing Zane, after a diaper change…) but he’s fairly flexible in the application. A snuggle against my leg with a hand on his head is just as effective as wrapping his limbs around my torso and lying his head on my shoulder. If we’ve had a clash of wills over one of the demands I don’t succumb to (like washing his brother off with the hose) he’ll scream HUG when he realizes he isn’t going to get his way and the brief squeeze is enough to reset his equanimity.
Another favorite of his is “NAP!” Which any sane parent doesn’t refuse. He doesn’t actually go to the crib, he runs to the couch and demands I put a blanket on him. Besides the downfall of explicit instructions that CADE naps, not Mommy, I see this whole scenario as a win-win.
Then yesterday evening he introduced a new demand that I acquiesced to without a moments thought. I’ve been taking him for a walk around the neighborhood after I put Zane down for bed. It gets the last bit of energy out of Cade before his bedtime and gives us some quality mommy-son time. As we make our somewhat squirrely way along the sidewalk with his toddler stream of consciousness for conversation (Ants. Ants! Step. Fast! Cade RUN. Crack. Bite! Lights. Sign! Road. Car. Blue. Truck. LOUD! Haha, loud! Ants. Sun? Clouds. Bird! Car…) he suddenly interrupts himself with a burst of laughter and then says, “Laugh!” He continues to crack himself up and say “laugh” and I can’t help but giggle. He immediately turns to me and says, “Mommy, laugh. Again!” How could I refuse?