“Will, you need to put that back in the cabinet please.”
That’s a phrase I seem to utter at least 200 times a day. Right alongside “Will, please sit down” and “Will, be gentle with the cat/dog.” I always make sure to ask him nicely, but I’m constantly nagging him and staying on top of him, because he’s a whirlwind of activity and he’s into everything. And while he’s pretty good about complying with my demands, yesterday he took a new approach in his response.
He grabbed his beloved plastic baseball bat and he was practicing his swings. Except he was practicing a little too close to the TV for my comfort. So once again, I stepped in and asked him to stop by saying “Will, can you please not swing the bat in the house?”
I was not prepared for his reaction.
He didn’t cry or fuss or throw a fit. And he certainly didn’t comply with my request. Instead, he closed his eyes REALLY tight for about five seconds while clenching his teeth. Then his eyes popped back open, he smiled at me, and continued swinging the bat. As if ignoring my demands, closing his eyes and wishing me away everything was OK.
I know that, as parents, we’re supposed to remain firm and not encourage bad behavior by laughing. I know this, but sometimes your kid does something so funny and unexpected you just break down in hysterical laughter. This would be one of those times.
When MJ came home later that night I was all set to tell her about it. She had a long day at work followed by her financial accounting class, and was in a little bit of a huff, so when she got home she was slightly frazzled. Before I had a chance to tell her about it, she took one look at the sink full of dishes I hadn’t gotten around to cleaning and said, “Babe, can you please get the dishes done. They’ve been there since this morning and you said you’d do them today.”
I didn’t say a word. I simply closed my eyes as tightly as possible, clenched my teeth and waited five seconds before opening them. MJ was looking at me quizically, but apparently moms are immune to this particular trick.
“OK,” she said. “When you’re done having your stroke can you please do the dishes?”
It must only work on dads.