yes, i’ve been saying that joel is at that magical age of rejection. rejection of car seat, stroller, high chair, being held. it’s especially fun when people are watching you wrestle him, strong-arm him into his car seat with looks of disgust on their faces. i get the warm tingles just thinking about it.
now, i do what i can to let joel feel in control of himself (as much as a one-year-old can possibly, being that he is scarcely aware that he is a self, having no concept of time or of the needs of others). i let him fart around and not be belted in. if the situation allows, i’ll simply follow his cues and take him out. but, damn it, car seat laws are not my fault, joel. and, yes, i could pull a 1945 and just let you roam about the inside of the car at leisure as i drive, fiddling with the gear shifter and messing with the controls and buttons, but i might get in trouble. so…for future reference, joel (not that you read this blog), but every time we go anywhere (even the park and other fun places), you have to be strapped in like you’re going into outer space. every time. even if we just run into the store (ha! like i ever just run in any place anymore…but i digress), you have to be strapped back in in a few minutes (i know, i know. you thought you were scott free).
when i finally do have to assert my dominant will over his, i try to do it gently. i try not to use too heavy a hand. or at least not leave any marks for the authorities to photograph later (tongue in cheek…i don’t actually abuse my child).
the one silver lining to all of this inconvenient, loud and stressful behavior, is that it drives his sister absolutely batty. yes, if you have been reading this a while,you may remember the times i struggled with ruth, sometimes waiting twenty or so minutes for her to finally sit down and be strapped in before going where we needed to go. trying times. since that time, she’s grown. and, where i wouldn’t say she’s easier to deal with on a daily basis by any means, there are some things that have become easier or complete non-issues. things that used to take up all of my mental strength to get through. they’ve disappeared.
while i was waiting joel out to be strapped in in order to drive to the park, ruth was next to him, ready to go. and, being four, ruth would not be the type to be patient with anyone. she’s actually evolved into quite a little control freak and nothing drives her more crazy than when she doesn’t have control of a situation (welcome to my world, little one). she was patient for a good three seconds before she started completely freaking out over the fact that joel was too stupid to realize that he was wasting precious park time. for both of them. she started yelling at him to sit down, hitting herself in frustration, utterly furious that he wouldn’t sit down.
then, it was my turn to play the caring understanding mother, “ruth, he’s just a baby. he doesn’t understand…we have to be patient.” and, though he was driving me crazy too, i got a slight amount of satisfaction that ruth was getting a taste of her own medicine. not that she knew that. she has no memory of being so obstinate about such things. and i was finally able to be at peace with the whole situation, knowing that.
ah, young childhood. can we survive it? any of us? i’m doing my damnedest.