If you want to make your already crappy morning crappier, get a 3-and-1/2-year-old. Wanna borrow mine?
I joke because it’s true.
On the very best of days our morning routine begins with a whimper and ends with a sigh. An average morning can land more than one of us crouched in a corner, crying and wearing yesterday’s
Arlo chooses his own clothes and underpants. We succumbed and bought Thomas the Tank Engine underpants thinking this would encourage toilet use. It did not. He was ready to go regardless. The only thing they did encourage was daily sifting, sorting and storytelling about the characters on each of the TEN pair. Learn from my mistake: tightie whities all the way.
Underpants settled, one recent morning Arlo chose to wear this t-shirt:
What he didn’t remember is that this t-shirt has snaps on the shoulder. Already late, already battle-weary, I helped him on with this shirt and reached for the snaps.
“Nooooooooo!” He wailed, backing away.
“What? What’s the problem?” I asked without an ounce of actual curiosity.
“I don’t like the snaps.”
“YOU picked this shirt, Arlo. You’re wearing it.”
“The snaps hurt me.”
“What? No they don’t.”
“YES THEY DO!” Cue meltdown.
I was really at my limit at that point. It was probably 7:15. Cue Farrah crying.
Now I know those snaps don’t hurt. The creative and tasteful folks at Polarn O. Pyret know those snaps don’t hurt (otherwise they wouldn’t get all our money after we pay Whole Foods). But despite having worn this shirt 25 times in the past two years, those snaps “hurt”. Something changed and his 3-year-old self could not articulate what that change was. He could only tell me it hurts. It might be irrational (and exasperating) to me but it was significant to him. I will not wear taupe, buttermilk or any shade of the Warm Spring color spectrum. This might be irrational to others but it is significant to me. If you tried to make me wear it, I would refuse. If you forced it on me, I would take it off. And then you’d have hell to pay for forcing me.
Every day I learn there is very little difference between 43 and three. In fact the only difference in this scenario is that I know how to change a shirt and Arlo does not. That leaves me two choices; change his shirt or teach him to change it. Somehow that morning I figured it out. I stopped, listened to my child and changed his shirt because it hurt him. Peace was restored.
Until I had to comb his hair.