Big, fat head

Cranky Henry awoke this morning in a mood. Daddy don’t do that, don’t have the pillow like that, don’t have your arm like that, I don’t want to go to school, I’m not going to get dressed, etc.  I tried a lot of the typical things, short of bribery, to get him going out of our bedroom and down stairs where we could begin the usual slow getting-ready ritual. To no avail. Finally, I left him sitting on our bed, arms crossed, angrily looking in any direction but mine.

Off to Frederick’s room I go and while rummaging for clothes, Henry appears and quietly crouches down next to the crib so he can see his sleeping brother. A smile spreads across his face. But thankfully, no assault ensues. Instead, Henry asks tenderly, “Mama, can you get Frederick out?”  Why yes, Mr. Jekyll, I sure can do that for you.

With Frederick on my hip, Henry playfully points to the toddler’s head and says, “you have a big fat head, Frederick!”

Frederick:   Blink, blink.

Henry:   [pointing, smiling]  Big, fat head!!

Concerned that a lack of reaction now would lead to nasty visits to the principal’s office with tearful little girls and angry parents, I say – – admittedly, somewhat ridiculously – – “Honey, your head and Frederick’s head are just the right size for you.” And then I kiss them both on their heads.  That’s good, right?

Frederick:   Blink, blink.

Henry:   [stomping, grunting]   No, **I** have the biggest head!!

Me: [wait, huh?]

By the time I get to the end of the hall, Henry’s on the other side of the baby gate, looking pretty ticked off again. “I’m not going to get dressed and I’m not going to school!”

Me:   Okay, well, we need to go downstairs, so can you open the gate for me?

Henry:   [grumpily]  What’s the password?

Me:   Big, fat head?

Henry’s face softens as he opens the gate.

Henry got to bed on the late side last night, so I’m sure that contributed to his grumpiness. I just get the feeling that I unwittingly make some exchanges worse with him because I start from the wrong place. I mean, I get that the parent / child perspective will always be different, but I’m of the opinion that not everything needs to be “parented” (disciplined / rewarded / coached, etc.) Some things you can just work with and speak your kids’ language to get to know their world and help them get along a little bit better in yours. It’s just going to take a little bit for me to wrap my big, fat head around it.


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