Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pull your pants up!

Thursday, 12th July 2012.

Our eldest will be three soon, and with his baby sister on her way, and little brother becoming more demanding everyday, it's high time the wee manny started doing a few more things for himself.

I'm loathe to push any stage if he doesn't seem ready, but a little nudge in the right direction every now and then seems to keep him on the right track - at least that's how our big kid roles.

We've had a few stand-offs in the past - mainly over food. But the last three days has brought to the surface a stubborn streak in our son that has really stood the test of time.

I started the battle unwittingly on Monday. It wasn't premeditated. I just innocently asked him to pull his pants up after he'd finished on the potty. He started to act real melodramatic - like it was the hardest task in the world, but the thing is, I've seen him do it before. I know he's capable - he would just rather have Momma do it.

So I made my bed - I threw down the ultimatum: If you want to go to the library you have to pull your pants up yourself... There, I'd said it. It was up to him.

I don't know what I was thinking! I couldn't have imagined the battle that ensued - not in my wildest dreams...

And what a carry on. Crying - and begging. He walked about with his pants scrunched around his ankles for the best part of the next hour. I don't know at what point it had turned into such a stand-off - but I wasn't about to back down, I'd be his Momma bitch from here on out!

He eventually laid face down on the rug in the cabin - pants and underpants still bunched around his ankles and fell fast asleep. I carried my little bullheaded boy to his bed and he slept for a long time - exhausted after his pants performance!

I thought (hoped) perhaps he'd be over it when he woke up. Not on your nelly! It was only the beginning. We continued insisting he pull his own pants up on Tuesday and for the best part of yesterday - and our little boy fought it every time. He spent the duration of these days either pants around his knees - or pants completely off. He would take himself to bed, or watch enraged as Daddy took baby brother in the minivan without him.

Apparently it wasn't working

It was a bad (and ill thought out) idea from the start, and Momma should have known better. Rewards and ultimatums have always backfired with big kid. He just seems to malfunction when he's being forced into a decision. Especially if the idea is a new one. 

Anyway - yesterday I decided to throw in the towel. I didn't see it as giving in - more changing my line of attack. I just didn't want to be stubborn about enforcing a line of parenting that basically sucked, and I
 wasn't feeling too good with myself about rushing my lad into something he didn't appear to be ready for. 

Plus - everyone else in the house was suffering from all the fun stuff big boy wasn't getting to do just because he refused to pull up his pants! 

And with house guests from Across The Pond set to arrive at any minute it didn't seem like the best idea to prolong our 'pull your pants up' campaign any further.    

Daddy, however, was pretty convinced wee (scrunched around his ankles) britches would 'break' soon, but boy did I hate hearing that! I think that crunched the decision to back down for me..

"I don't want to
break him - he's not a horse, or Rocky Balboa!"  

Our eldest likes to take his time about everything. He's not a mover or a shaker when it comes to hitting those milestones... (except for pooping on the potty - he likes to sit still, so perhaps not such a shocker)

Going by tales told of his Daddy - wee man will have us tying his shoe laces for the next thirty years if we don't nip it in the bud now. Perhaps that's why Daddy was more keen to enforce Momma's regrettable ruling - 
It takes one to know one after all....

In spite of this dreaded dependency prophecy, 
this morning I backed off completely. No pushing or ultimatums or rewards. Just a bit of gentle encouragement and offers to help. And would you believe it? Now the awkward little bugger won't accept our help!

He wants to pull his own pants up now. "No help Momma - go away!"

Reverse psychology. Who'd a thunk?

Oh, we are just too good at this parenting malarkey! I wish I could say we'd had it planned out that way the whole time!


  1. Man, picking battles with our kids is so hard. And frustrating. Glad it all worked out. Now you have a little boy who can do what many teenage boys can't. Perhaps he can set a new fad of waist-fitting pants!!

  2. LOL! These kids! Gray is the same way - make it a battle and he will fight for it, but convince him it is HIS idea in the first place, and he'll fight on YOUR team! :D

  3. Ahhh, I have one of those. That lovely strong will. Thanks for sharing, it made me feel not so alone.

  4. Oh my, this sounds like my daughter! My hubs uses reverse psychology too, and it still works on her. Age 3 is tough, isn't it??

    I'm so glad you linked up to the Mixer and I hope to see you again on Thursday! Also, come on by and enter to win a super adorable Thirty-One bag or some awesome discounts on a Thirty-One order! :)