Tiny Tyrants

There’s a hilarious anecdote in Amy Wilson’s memoir –- “momoir,” if you prefer — When Did I Get Like This?: The Screamer, the Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget-Buyer, and Other Mothers I Swore I’d Never Be She’s describing how she figured out the one thing that calmed her colicky infant was bouncing on an exercise ball. So she did – 24/7. When her husband got home from work they’d trade off, not even stopping to eat: “I would shovel forkfuls of kung pao chicken into David’s mouth while he kept bouncing.”

Then there were 2 comments I read online on the same theme: one new mom said her 1yo doesn’t “allow” her to sit on the sofa. “She lets me know in no uncertain terms that she wants her mommy on the floor with her!” Another mom said her 2yo made her get up and sit on the other side of the room – and she did! (As would any mom not willing to risk a tantrum from an irrational toddler.)

Do you realize what this means, people? It means we are allowing ourselves to be ruled by the sticky iron fists of miniature dictators!! They’re despots in diapers! Bullies in bibs! Oppressors in overalls! (I could go all day; I have a thesaurus and I’m not afraid to use it.)

The sick part is, we willingly go along with this treatment to keep them happy. It’s like those mean girls in junior high you were desperate to have like you because they were popular. They’d be super-nice to your face but you were always afraid they’d go postal on you in the middle of the night at some slumber party.

Pissing off the people who determine whether you sleep through the night is NOT WORTH IT. Most parents will do anything to fend off that dinnertime tantrum, the meltdown in the candy aisle, the piercing air-raid siren that is their newborn’s wail. Even if it means risking indigestion, bad knees, or one’s own choice of seating.

Sometimes I’m ashamed that I, an intelligent, reasonably confident adult, allow myself to be bossed around by the shortest people in the house. Shouldn’t the person calling the shots at least be able to SAY “shots” without lisping?

However, what my children lack in articulation and height, they make up for in volume and stubbornness. I’m just not willing to launch World War III by taking a stand against the small stuff. So that means more often than not, when my kids say jump, I say, “Like a kangaroo or a bunny?”


Ali said…

I'm not a mom YET (5 months to go), but I have lots of experience raising my nieces.

Isn't it MORE frustrating to have children dictate your every move? While I totally empathize with parents who just want the behaviour (crying) to stop, isn't it better for the children not to give in?

Adrienne Gomer said…

HAHA! This post makes me laugh. I have often seen parents do these things and have been determined not to be one of them. In our house, it's always my way or no way and if the kid doesn't like it… too bad!

Mom2Miles said…

Believe me, I SO did not plan to be 1 of those moms who gives in to kids' every demand – and I don't – but sometimes it's the lesser of 2 evils to just give them what they want. It's sure as heck a lot quieter, anyway. 😉

Kathleen@so much to say said…

I have always been a really strong mom, but #3 (just turned 2, and celebrated by thrwoing the first tantrum this house has ever seen) is wearing me down. I'm staring down the barrel of a year or more of tantrums, and I'm nearly paralyzed with dread. Today it was because he would NOT eat his vegetables. So far I'm holding the fort, but I doubt my ability to keep going!

Ali said…

Give me 'bout a year or so, and I'm sure I'll turn into one of those moms too

It's Not Like a Cat said…

I fully intended (and still try hard) to be one of those parents who doesn't give in. And once we realized how much we give in–how often we close the fridge so Max can open it himself, or how often I've scolded my husband for ripping the lid off the yogurt, causing Max to totally melt down–we stopped. It's absurd. Sure, sometimes we still give in, to avoid a meltdown, but we've started putting our foot (feet?) down and saying, "No, I've already opened the fridge. I'm not going to close it just so you can open it."

Or, maybe I'm totally deluding myself and we still give in way too much just to keep the peace. But I'd LIKE to think I'm the authority around here!

Anonymous said…

this post REALLY resonates with me… THANK YOU!!!!

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