As a rule of thumb, I do not negotiate with terrorist.
It usually just leads to more trouble and they are not trustworthy enough to hold up their end of the bargain.
But then I had a kid and now that he’s been formally introduced to his independent streak, negotiations have become a major component to my day.
Back in 2008 B.C. (before children), I used to daydream about what parenthood would be. I would quit my job and home school them — because any children that I had were bound to be the next Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs — and their education could not be left to chance.
I would feed them only whole grains, organic greens and lean meats to ensure the best nutrition.
And I would never even think about spanking and would use my elevated reasoning and verbal skills to educate my young on the lessons of life.
Then I had a son and all that flew out the window.
Now I hear him say words that I really wish he didn’t know (thank, hubby), French fries are his favorite food and I do more convincing and enticing than a vice cop.
This is all because of the toddler tantrum, which can strike at any moment in any setting.
There are many shades of the tantrum: among them there’s the “I can’t get what I want” wail, there’s the “why did mom leave the room” rant and, my personal favorite, the “the sudden shriek for no reason.”
Usually I’m blessed with a decent “cool down” period, where the tantrums are spaced out a few hours, but then one recent morning, there were three in 45 minutes.
It started when I had the audacity to hand him his sippy cup rather than let him grab it (in my defense, he did not let me know his wishes pre-tantrum). And that was all it took for a five-minute screaming fit.
Ten minutes later, I was attempting to brush his teeth and he wouldn’t open his mouth. I tried motivating him with a treat, I tried asking very nicely, I tried the stern warning to comply — nothing worked. He hollered when I tried to overrule his stubbornness and kicked me as I tried to hold his chin still.
Then came time to get into the car, which I liken to trying to wrestle a piglet into a mud pen (complete with blood-curdling screams).
The only thing that prevents me from wanting to kill him is 10 minutes after the meltdown, he will do something that I’m convinced is the most adorable thing a child has ever done.
Yes, cuteness definitely is this child’s weapon of choice, and I think he’s winning the war.
— Sarah Leach is editor of The Holland Sentinel. Contact her at (616) 546-4278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.