It starts at breakfast- as I am preparing their breakfast he asks me, ever day, inexhaustibly, "can I have a snack?" To which I answer "you can have breakfast." Oliver: "I don't want breakfast, I want a snack." I hold my ground, he cries, etc. Every day. I never back down or give in, as I myself am inexhaustible in my stubbornness (so I wonder where he gets it?). But we still go through this every day. For over a year.
The rest of the day we spend doing our thing, with the only minor battle being a continuation of the first one: "can I have a snack?" all. day. long. Sometimes, obviously, the answer is yes. But when it's no, he just keeps asking, and whining, and making me crazy.
Then he takes a nap. No battle there usually (thank the lord). But then he wakes up, always right when I need to be starting dinner, and needs me to hold him (when I say need, I realize the difference between need and want. he needs) for at least half an hour. Then he has a snack and I start dinner. Then while I'm finishing dinner the real battle starts: "I'm so hungry, I want a snack, is dinner ready yet?" Then he whines and cries some more, I yell because by this point my patience is exhausted, he cries some more... it's not pretty. This particular battle I feel like I've been fighting for four years, because before Oliver Izzy did the exact same thing. Except that she didn't want a snack, she just wanted to be held and would cry for hours unless I did so (and sometimes even when I did). But when I'm cooking, I just want to cook. Sometimes I would be on top of things and have something in the crock pot or oven by the time they woke up, but more often, not. This particular battle is making me particularly crazy, because it seems like it will never end. And I have no ideas for how to end it. The only thing keeping me sane is the fact that Izzy eventually stopped, so Oliver probably will too.
And then the last battle of the day, the one fought in all homes with children around the world- clean up time. "Time to clean up" followed by whines and wails and "I don't want to!" Not only because cleaning up isn't fun, but because cleaning up means it's almost bed time. I've tried many things to help make this process smoother- cleaning up before dinner (but we've already seen how awful this particular time of day is), using a timer, all sorts of incentives and punishments, taking toys away... they care, but it's still not enough to make them willing participants in the process. And Oliver is notorious for messing around while Izzy cleans, which makes her mad.
Between these three battles that repeat every single day I feel like my life as a mother is spent fighting with and not enjoying my children. There is no way I'm going to back down on any of these issues- this is a temporary solution that will only make me crazier in the long run. And I keep thinking that they are going to get the idea someday that they have to clean up, so why fight it, and that their crying and whining will get them no where on any of the issues. But man, my kids are stubborn.
And people wonder why I don't want any more kids...