When I started thinking about this post, I wanted to count up the number of times I say "no" to my son and how many times I say "yes." We didn't even make it out of his bedroom before I had lost count of the "no"s and only had a "yes" or two to count. Having 4 year old desires is a world of NO! No you can't wear a maroon shirt and purple pants, you aren't an eggplant. No you can't put your shoes on before your pants, because skinny jeans and physics. No I'm not going to remove the cat from the room, she is just waiting for us to go downstairs and feed her.
Because of all the "no"s, sometimes I give in to a silly yes. Yes you can go change so we are wearing the same colors, even though we are running late. Yes Batman can ride with us on our errands, but he has to stay in your pocket. Last weekend the request got a little out of the ordinary...
The weekend rule in our house is that he is supposed to get dressed before he comes in to get me or daddy. Saturday morning he came in fully dressed as requested. We had a party to go to that morning, so I asked if he would go put on a party shirt to look nice (and give me a chance to get dressed). He came back a few minutes later wearing a floral print button up (I might need to chose my wording more carefully next time). He laughed at me as I brushed my teeth, then he declared that I needed to wear lip color. Despite wearing makeup Monday through Friday, I almost never wear lipstick, gloss, stain, or even chapstick. I had just recently gotten a new sample in my monthly ipsy bag and it was sitting on my vanity. I had no intention of wearing any sort of makeup, it was a birthday party for a 5 and 2 year old, not something fancy. But I couldn't think of a reason not to other than laziness, so I applied a layer and went on with the day. It felt awkward, I kept having to touch it up, though it stayed on better than I would have expected, and the day was ultimately survived.
Giving in to a whim is one thing, but I've found that he also has the power to boss me even when he hasn't said a thing, and sometimes isn't even in the same room. For example...well, backstory first; my son's most effective self-soothing tactic is shirt tags. When he is stressed, upset, or just bored, he reaches to the inside of his shirt and rubs the tag. This became an issue for a while because he kept taking dirty laundry to bed to rub the tag while he drifted off to sleep. I bought him a taggy blanket to try to keep the dirty clothes from his bed, but he didn't like it. One night, in a frustrated state, I pulled one of his old gymnastics shirts out of a box, turned it inside out, and handed it to him tag first. We call it the taggy shirt, and I don't think he has slept a night without it since...and then it went missing. I knew it had come downstairs that morning, but at bedtime it was no where to be found. We searched all the usual places, but no taggy shirt. I had to tuck him in with the backup taggy shirt which just isn't as good. But I couldn't relax, I rechecked everywhere. I checked the trash cans, I walked around the yard with a flashlight just in case the dog had taken it. I was stressing and he wasn't making a sound. I poured a glass of wine to relax and think, I sat on the couch, and the taggy shirt was right there on the table, tucked under things in a way that made it hidden until I sat down. The kid happily snatched it from my grasp when I took it to his room and curled up for sleep. Keeping me from relaxing, without a word, how is that fair?
I let the kid boss me around, and sometimes it is fun. If he tries to boss the pets or another kid around, it is a quick and firm reprimand. What are the ways you try to balance the "no"s and "yes"s?