This kid. He's so damn charming when he wants to be. He's the kid who makes me so glad that my parents buy us a Disneyland pass every year because he's just so happy to be there. He's all caps and exclamation points. He's a happy kid and when you're fully engaged with him, he's awesome. He adjusted well to school and made friends easily. He knows everyone's name, even the kids who aren't in his class. He approaches kids at the park, "Are you my friend?" and then goes zooming off with them.
But, he's also pushing every button I have, and then some.
I have tried/am trying anything. He's mostly impervious to punishment. Taking away TV privileges works, but he will then ask every minute or so if he can watch a show. Even if I've told him, endlessly, that he can't watch a show until... whenever I've decided that will be. I stop him, get down on his level, and ask him when he can watch a show. And he'll tell me! But then, minutes later, the same thing all over again. Which, okay. He's four and has the attention span of a gnat. Okay.
But, he's so contrary. I play into this: I bet I can beat you up the stairs into the bathroom! I bet you can't pick up all of your toys before I count to twenty. Thanks to Maureen for that particular bit of advice. Still, his first response to pretty much every request is, simply, no. Or, rather NO! Or, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I am a rule-follower, and am physically uncomfortable when other people break rules, so this pushes me to my very limits.
Ask Moxie recommends Your Four Year Old: Wild and Wonderful in a post hilariously titled: Why do 4-year-olds suck so much? I've already put this on my list at the library, fingers crossed that the other poor soul who checked it out returns it quickly.
I'm trying a technique that probably has a name, but we'll just call it "Do Anything You Can to Keep From Screaming or Otherwise Flipping Out." This is harder than it seems. Screaming, shockingly, does not spur this kid into action. Instead, his brain reads this as "Do whatever you were doing, but do it more." So, I don't react. I ask again, nicely. When he's mouthy, I either ask him to try again, or just stop and stare at him until he rephrases his previous statement. At the end of the day, I'm at the end of a very long rope and it's all I can do to hold it together through his shower and bed time. Incidentally, this is also the part of the day where he seems to go completely deaf. More than once, I have hauled him, soaking wet, out of the tub when he doesn't respond to my request to turn off the water before he floods the bathroom.
Someday he'll be bigger than me, and before then I'll tire of dragging him out of the tub, or into his room for naptime or out of school. Oh, yes. When I pick him up from school he does not listen to me until his teacher, who he's known for three weeks, tells him to listen. Those moments are a bit of a blow to my ego.
So, advice? Or, should I just trade my Twitter habit for hard liquor?