Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Age of Reason

My mother likes to remind me of the time when I was but a wee Yankee fan and was making her life difficult by refusing to help her with my mittens. She sat me down and explained to me that she didn't like yelling at me, but that I needed to help her by holding my wrist and fingers firm while she was trying to put my mittens on. After she had finished, she asked if I knew what I could do to help her keep from yelling at me.

I nodded.
"What are you going to do?" she asked.

"Put a pin in your mouth," I replied.
Apparently Finn has been listening to these stories and they're giving him ideas. Now that he's reached the age where we can quietly discuss why punching the cats might be a bad idea or why spitting his food all over the floor is not proper restaurant behavior, when pressed for his feedback or understanding, he's not giving us the answers that we're looking for.

My five-second peruse of Positive Discipline has left me completely helpless in this situation. I know that I'm supposed to discuss his actions and the repercussions that result when he does something naughty, but what do I do when he looks me dead in the eye and disagrees with me?

It's like arguing with the cats. As previously mentioned, you can't win an argument with the cats. They'll poop in your shoes.

Finn and I had a Dudes' Night Dinner tonight while Kitty was at an appointment, which means that I pull out all the culinary stops:
  1. Completely forget what Kitty had told me that she had planned for us for dinner
  2. Try to piece together something from the stuff in the fridge
  3. End up eating dry toast with turkey on it
Shockingly, Finn did not seem to appreciate my Daddy dinner skillz and proceeded to spit his dry-toast, turkey sandwich all over himself. As this is behavior that we are trying to nip in the bud, I promptly removed him from the kitchen and he sat in the living room (fake) crying.

After I finished my dinner, I went in to see him and asked him if he understood why I made him sit in the living room.
"I spit it out," he replied, looking remorseful.

"Correct. I don't like having to put you in the living room, so are you going to not spit it out tomorrow night?"

Double-negative. That wasn't the answer that I was looking for. Thinking that perhaps I had confused him with my phrasing, I tried again.
"Let me ask the question a little differently. Are you going to spit it out tomorrow night?"

Obviously, this approach isn't working.

I think I need to put a pin in his mouth.

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