When Annika was two years old we learned that we would have better luck reasoning with a politician then her at that age. Around the time she turned three she seemed to instantly gain some sort of conscience and we could usually come up with some sort of rational compromise. That day cannot come soon enough with the twins.
I realize it is going to be a very long time before our kids act rationally all the time (my parents would probably say that they are still waiting) but what I am talking about is the constant irrational behaviour. Regardless of what anyone says I think I am an overly rational person so it is very challenging to have a duo of kids interested in demonstrating their freedom of choice every chance they get. When you have two sets of eyes finding ways to make a scene and two personalities working together and against one another to try and get their way my patience does not seem as endless as it once did. They have realized that they have the ability to choose and to make a fuss if we do not satisfy their choice.
Let’s look at a simple example with cups. We use a set of coloured cups with lids and straws. Over time we have misplaced some and replaced others which means we have a real mishmash of cups, lids, and straws. The cups are blue, yellow, green, and orange, and there are two different styles of lids in those same colours. The straws are red, green, purple, and orange. If Bryce gets a blue cup, lid, and any straw then we are OK. Bryce thinks blue is the best and Jada feels that any colour is better than blue. If the blue cups are dirty then it gets more complicated. If Bryce gets a green cup then Jada usually will want one as well or she will have yellow or orange if she can have a green lid AND a red or green straw. If Jada gets a green cup then Bryce is OK with green or yellow if he gets a red or green straw. Neither likes orange all that much but it is fine as long both of them get that colour but we better make sure the straw colours are right. Sound complicated? It would be OK if we didn’t also have similar dilemmas with plates, bowls, and cutlery and if the rules didn’t change weekly. We have thought about just using a set which is all the same but they would just move their focus on to something else.
If I wanted to I could go on and on with examples as we have to deal with different things all day long. They have favourite toys, hat/shoe combinations, clothe combinations, DVD’s, places to sit, food to eat, and much more. Once they realize that you have it figured out then they decide to switch it up. Lisa and I have changed seats a few times at the dinner table because the twins have demanded that I sit in this chair and not that one. At least I still have a spot at the table.
Some of you must think that we are pushovers and the kids are running amok but we must mention that they do not get away with everything they make a fuss about. We realize we cannot give in to their every whim so we do resist and try to be proactive as much as possible. We do go to battle over some things, like the amount of dessert, or when it is time to leave the playground, but many times it is worth avoiding a meltdown by letting them play with their favourite funnel or let them use the tiniest spoon ever made to eat their soup. We know from experience that this phase will be over soon and we are better off staying calm and not battle their irrational wants all the time. And to all the more experienced parents out there: It does not help to remind us that it will be worse when they become teenagers. Thanks anyway.