The hard way

In the name of all that is wonderful, why do children insist on making life difficult and doing things the hard way?

Example one: Joe and TV

Most evenings, after dinner, bath (if it’s a kids’ bath night – every second night in our house), and pyjamas, we let the kids watch a wee bit of TV. Afterwards, we have stories, brush teeth, and put them to bed.

And E.V.E.R.Y. evening, Joe pitches a fit when it’s time to turn off the TV. Every time. He falls theatrically to the floor, loudly wailing his displeasure. “But Jacq, you  need to tell him ahead of time that it’s the last programme, so he’s rea…” NO. Stop with that advice. We always, ALWAYS give them advance notice that the TV will be switched off after the current programme, and it makes no difference.

Why, Joe? Why must you do this every night, and suck a little bit of fun out of our evenings, so our last ten minutes each day is often spent with me getting irritated at you? WHY, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD?! He is an adorable child, but the width of his dramatic streak can be seriously trying.

Example two: Hattie and tonight’s toilet stop

So, both kids are still in pull-ups at night – and we’re fine with that, as we understand that kids’ brains develop the ability to slow down nocturnal urine production at different rates: with some kids, this happens very soon after toilet training, and with others there’s a longer delay. It’s no big deal, aside from days (like today) when somebody has a leaky pull-up and ended up awake an hour earlier than usual. This happens once a week or so, but on many occasions it seems as though Hattie, in particular, has only done one wee overnight.

Today I talked to both of them about going for a wee just before bed (to minimise the risk of leaks), and they agreed that it was a good idea. But when bedtime rolled around, Joe was easy and compliant, but Hattie flatly refused. She told me that she’d been to the loo before dinner, and didn’t need to go. I told her that I understood that, but that sitting on the loo for a count of ten might tempt a last minute wee out. But she was a dedicated refusenik, as is so often her wont. She is the most delightful child, but she has a will of iron and when I’m tired, I find exhausting.


Tristan was away this evening, so I was handling bedtime alone – never a good move. The positive thing is that I didn’t lose my temper, although I did let my irritation show. As I put Hattie to bed I asked her to think about why she never wants to try anything I suggest. Has Mummy ever suggested trying something that turned out to be wrong, to explain why she’s so reluctant to take my advice? I explained to her that I’m trying to help her by suggesting a toilet trip, and I asked her whether it would have really been so big a deal to just have a quick sit on the loo.

And then I left her sucking her thumb and turned my attention to Joe. This was more straightforward: he’s perpetually testing boundaries at the moment, so I told him that I am DONE with the post-TV ridiculousness. If it happens one more time, that’ll be the end of evening TV-watching for our kids.

I kissed both kids goodnight, asked them to think about what I’d said to each of them, and left them to it.
… and returned less than five minute give them an extra kiss each – after all, they’re only little, and they’re wonderful.

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2 thoughts on “The hard way

  1. Oh I hear you! Its so exhausting. Something I’ve tried with some success… we write a note together detailing whats going to happen next. Ex: “After the show, we will turn off the tv. We will watch another one tomorrow.” and we both “sign” it and agree on it. That gives the kid some power in what’s going to happen while making the actions perfectly clear. You can even add “if there is any crying about it, there will be no show tomorrow” or something like that. Even if they can’t read, they know its been discussed and written. Let me know if you try it! Good luck 🙂

    1. I am so relieved to hear that this happens in other houses too! I love the idea of a ‘contract’ – I’m definitely going to try that (especially as they both love writing their names). I’ll let you know how we go!

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