My almost-5-year-old is in a phase. It’s not a phase I love. I remember when my two older boys went through this same phase, and knowing that they have mostly come out of it — well, that’s the light at the end of this tunnel. Knowing that this is only a phase and knowing that my sweet, smiley, cuddly boy will return — well, that’s what keeps me from stringing this little gremlin up by his toenails.
This is the sort of conversation my adorable little boy and I have multiple times a day.
Me: Please put on your shoes.
Jack: No, you put on your shoes. *maniacal laughter*
Me: *getting eye level with him* I was not joking. You may not speak that way to me. It doesn’t show respect.
Jack: You may not speak that way to me. *maniacal laughter*
And an hour later we will have this sort of conversation.
Me: Please stay in your seat while you eat.
Jack: No, you stay in your seat. *maniacal laughter*
Me: *getting eye level with him* Remember, you may not speak to me that way. It does not show respect.
Jack: No, you may not speak that way to me.
And so there are consequences and reminders and plenty of opportunities for him to say I’m sorry throughout each day. But really, how fun could it be to do that all day long?! Why does he does this every day? All. Day. Long.?
This is an actual conversation we had this afternoon.
Me: Jack, what were you thinking when you spit on your brothers and the neighbor boys?
Jack: *maniacal laughter followed by a shrug*
Me: Did you think they would laugh?
Me: Did you think they might get angry?
Jack: No. I mean, yes. *slight giggle*
Me: Did you want them to get angry with you?
Me: *giving up* Don’t spit on anyone. It’s gross. Now, you must stay in our apartment.
Jack: *wailing and gnashing of teeth as if he never expected there would be consequences for spitting on people*
Yes, I must keep reminding myself that this phase will pass. Eventually, he will get a real sense of humor. A sense of humor that does not think it’s funny to repeat back to someone every single thing they say to you. Eventually, he will learn that spitting on people is disgusting. Eventually, he will not find sport in making his little brother scream and cry.
In the meantime, he’s lucky he’s so cute.