Power Struggles

A glass of wine will be had tonight.  OH, yes it will. For I am weary from today.  Not even the whole day really, just… after work from – oh – about the time I picked up my son from daycare.

And no, that is not a coincidence. Where do I begin?

We had a lovely walk out of the daycare center and down the long, covered hallway until, “Graham, it’s time to put on your coat!” “NO!” So we did that for awhile… trying to be positive… trying to make a game out of it… trying to be firm… until the only thing left to do was to grab his little squirmy arms and stick them through the long floppy tubes of fabric known as ‘coat sleeves’.

And there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Then we got to the end of said hallway in our coat, and “Graham, we need to hold hands in the parking lot.” “NO!” “Graham, hold hands or I’ll pick you up.  Your choice.” “NO!” “Hold hands?” “NOOOOOOOOO!!!” Then he threw himself on the floor in a teary rage. All the while scores of parents walk past, ask their toddlers and preschoolers to hold hands and they do.  One dad gave his toddler a choice to hold hands or get picked up, and the kid said, “Up!” All the while Graham is retching from all the tears and snot he’s swallowing because holding hands is apparently akin to being forced to bury your family dog in the backyard in January with a tablespoon. OH THE HORROR OF THE SITUATION.

We did this back and forth for awhile until Graham decided to run alllllllll the way back down the hallway to the front doors of the daycare center.  At this point, I picked him up. I was done. Graham wasn’t.

I picked him up so he was facing away from me, because when Graham’s still got fight in him, he’s got some fight in him – and Graham fights dirty. I carried the kid down the hallway like I’d carry a cat fresh out of the bathtub – trying to get from Point A to Point B while minimize damage to myself.

Once we got to the end of the hallway, Graham was calm, so I turned him around and faced him on my hip. That is when I got smacked square across the face. Graham got FIRST. MIDDLE. and LAST NAME. “NO SIR.”

And then, a big wide smile broke across his face and he smacked me across the face again.

People. I know many things. I can jump a car battery. I can swap out a hard drive on a computer. I can do volumetric conversions in the kitchen like nobody’s business. What I do NOT know how to do is handle my son slapping me vigorously across the face in a busy public parking lot and then laughing about the hilarity of the situation. When I scold him? More laughing. Nothing gets through in these hitting situations except time outs. So I stuck him in the carseat, shut the door of the car, and stood right outside the door to give him some time to himself. That hit home, but whatever. We talked about it, but he’s not even 2, so it doesn’t make a dent.

When we got home, Graham wanted to eat, so Andy got out pretzels and pita chips and said, “You want a snack while mommy fixes dinner?  What do you want: pretzels or chips?” “CRACKER!” Now, it was personal, and we put our feet down. Any other day, we would’ve pulled out a cracker, but tonight, Graham was an addict – just trying to get his own way wherever he could.

Without going into ALL the details, we put snacks away before dinner, because Graham couldn’t ever bring himself to choose between the two choices he was offered. So we chose for him. Then there was dinner. He got 8-layer casserole (a favorite) with a little side of pita chips. He said, “Cracker?” “No buddy, here’s your dinner.”

“No chips,” he said, “cracker?”
“No cracker, son, eat your dinner.”
“DONE,” Graham said and pushed away from the table and immediately commenced to march to the pantry door and demand crackers.

We refused, and there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. He was a hot mess. Andy picked him up, sat him in the living room and said, “If you’re going to cry, that’s fine, but you’re going to cry in here. We’re eating dinner.” Cue 10-15 minutes of tears, then quiet, then a boy who was looking over at the dinner table with interest. Eventually said boy quietly came over to the table and ate. He didn’t sit in his chair or on our laps – he stood right by the table – but he ate.

There were a few more outbursts before bedtime – about a bath and glow sticks and books and water cups and combs – but I think you get the point by now.

It’s too tempting to declare that ‘we’ve hit the terrible 2’s’.  Besides, most parents are quick to put me in my place with the OMG3ISSOMUCHWORSE talk. So I’m just going to safely stick with: Graham is getting smarter. Every day. And every day, he continues to explore his boundaries. His limits. MY LIMITS.

And so, the wine.


  1. This sounds very familiar.

  2. Sounds like a tough evening! It could be time for a naughty chair!

  3. Gampa Craig says:

    Funny, I don’t think that ever happened with our three boys. I guess it just goes to show you that those tantrum memories fade out over time.

  4. Feeling for you…thankful that you can drink wine to comfort you :) drink up while you can!

  5. Oh man rough times :( I’m really not looking forward to this stage times 2!!! I’m going to be a ranging alcoholic :)


  1. […] after daycare let out, the scene was exactly the same as it was last Wednesday. We’re just about to cross through a high [foot] traffic doorway, into the parking garage. […]

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