I know that everyone says you have to pick your battles but that really is easier said than done! What battles are worth fighting, which ones can you ignore and how do you stay consistent?
I understand the need spud has for control, I understand he needs to test the boundaries but it is so tiring and draining.
The battles normally start as soon as spud wakes up. Some days he will ask me to dress him and co-operaterate well. Others, everything, including breathing seems to be a battle.
A typical morning will go something like this:
Spud wakes up and comes in for a cuddle, I then get spud dressed with it taking up to 30mins to get his socks just right. I have to put the clothes on in a certain order and woe betide me if I don’t. We then have a battle of teeth cleaning and him wanting to use just mouth wash. Me saying he can use mouth wash before or after brushing his teeth but not instead of. Spud will then dance around upstairs, doing anything but cleaning his teeth. Me getting more and more cross as the time ticks by. Therapeutic parenting is not something I find easy in the mornings.
Finally teeth cleaned, of a fashion and downstairs. The next battle then begins with breakfast and encouraging spud to eat. I have relented and let him watch TV while he eats or I feed him. This was one battle I gave in to.
Then the battle to get ready for school from putting shoes on to wearing his coat to leaving the house starts. I read once that adoption prep training should include getting an octopus into a string bag, how true they were.
Normally the walk to school is fairly calm as I try to distract him with pointing things out, chatting about the plan for his day and what we will do after school. By the time the bell goes and he runs into school, I am ready to crash and burn and would much prefer to go home and crawl back into bed but onto work I go.
6 hours later and at the school pick up the next battle for control starts. The coat and school bag are launched at me from across the playground and I have to try and be a good catch. Spud then runs across the playground onto the school field running in circles. In the early days, I would chase him and try to get him off the field. Now, I take a seat on the bench and let him come to me once he is ready. It can be 5 minutes but has not been unheard of to be 20 mins. We are always the last to leave the school grounds and I am sure the teachers must wonder if we have a home to go to.
We walk home and I try to chat about spuds day. I have learnt that he will tell me as much as he wants and no amount of questions will prise any more information out if him.
The evening battles are similar to the mornings with the added control and battle of toileting and then onto the bedtime battle. Some nights the bedtime routine goes well, other times it can take up to 3 hours to get spud into bed and asleep. There have been many nights when it has been close to who goes to sleep first!
I know I give in too easily sometimes, I know that everything I thought about during our prep course goes out the window when you are 3 hours into a bedtime battle, I know the very idealistic view I had of parenting is not real.
So how do you decide what battles to take on? What battles have you let go?