Choices

Dylan has had a listening problem lately.  (I promise I’ll switch topics soon.)  Just to clarify, it’s not a hearing problem.  It’s a listening problem.  Like when he weaves in and out of parked cars in a busy parking lot and I say, “Dylan FREEZE!,” and he just keeps on weaving.  Or when I ask him to stop slamming the oven door on his play kitchen and he doesn’t and then the door falls off the hinges, but not before he gets his fingers caught first.

My new discipline approach is to give Dylan decisions to make.  To be a big boy instead of a baby.  To use big boy words instead of baby talk.  To choose to walk next to me in a parking lot or lose his favorite dinosaur book.  To choose to stop waving a drumstick in Riley’s face or go to his room.  To choose to behave or help Mommy pack her bags. 

It’s hard to know if anything is sinking in, but he’s had fewer infractions since our initial discussion (i.e. yell-fest) on Monday morning, which happened as a result of the agony he (and Riley) put me through in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office. On the ride home, I contemplated leaving them both wrapped in blankets in a large basket at the local fire station.  There’s no age limit on that, is there?

I’ve heard Dylan mimic things I’ve said before.  He’ll say something is “unacceptable” or “I’m not listening to this anymore” or ask, “Who’s going to clean this up?”  Talk about kids being mirror images of their parents!  When I hear him say these things, I’m amazed he doesn’t also say “holy shit” or ask, “Is there cold wine in the fridge?”  (Actually, in the bathtub tonight, he filled a cup with bubbly water and said, “Look Mommy, a cup of wine” to which I quickly replied, “That looks like milk to me!”)

This afternoon, I sat at the computer getting my daily entertainment news fix at huffingtonpost.com when Dylan grabbed my arm and said, “Mommy, you have a choice.  You can sit here at the com-pee-ter or you can play with me in the kitchen.”  He may not be listening much yet (he had a time-out while I edited this piece…he just kept waving that drumstick in Riley’s face!) but he definitely understands the exercise.  I had to give him credit for giving me such a smart choice to make so I stepped away from the computer…for a little while.

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