Saturday, March 23, 2013
My Son, the Bad Influence
It started last summer. Our across-the-street neighbors who have a little boy just about LO's age were gardening in their front yard. LO and I, who were relaxing on the front porch sans footwear, headed across the street to say hello. LO and their little boy played a little while on the front yard when LO decided to do some exploring down the sidewalk. Our neighbor's son, who was also barefoot, followed him.
This was apparently against the rules. Neighbor pointed out to her son that he was not to leave the front yard without shoes.
Without missing a beat, the little boy pointed at my hobbit-like child (who was wending his shoe-free way down the sidewalk as if he'd never heard the word "Tetanus") and exclaimed, "LO did it!"
Apparently 2 years old is a tough time for explaining the fact that different homes have different rules. (I suspect that's just as true for 4 years old, 10 years old, 16 years old, and beyond. I'm not sure I'll have to find out, however, since I appear to be the most permissive mom on the block.)
After that point, LO went from working to get his neighborhood friends in trouble to getting his school friends in trouble.
For instance, LO absolutely loves playing with the keyless remote for my Honda Accord. His favorite thing to do is press the unlock button over and over again in order to watch the tail lights blink and hear the ka-thunk of the doors unlocking. So, one of the bargaining chips in getting the child to leave school at the end of the day is to hand him my keys after he has his coat on. Otherwise, leaving would either be an all-afternoon affair or the source of a daily nuclear meltdown.
I personally have no problem with bribing my child. I also pair things I like (like listening to a cheesy romance novel on my iPod) with things I don't necessarily want to do (like run or work out) in order to motivate myself, so why not do the same for my child?
Well, all of LO's friends have noticed that he gets to be the keeper of the keys when his Mommy comes to pick him up, and they've been demanding their own keys from their own Mommies.
This has led to some awkward situations. For instance, LO's friend C was allowed to take control of the keys, but he was unwilling to relinquish them when his Mommy needed them for minor conveniences, such as driving, and heated words were exchanged between C and his Mommy on multiple occasions. Eventually, C lost his key privileges altogether, which apparently led to a particularly tense discussion over who was the adult and who was not quite two years old one recent morning.
C's Mommy, who is a lovely lady who was able to laugh about the ways in which my bad influence of a son had led her son off the straight-and-narrow, did not seem to hold the incident against LO. This time.
I do wonder about what will happen in the future, as LO continues to lead other children astray.
Considering that my philosophy of parenting is to let out the leash unless and until LO shows me he can't handle it, I'm thinking this sort of thing will keep happening.
Perhaps I should just give in and slick back the kid's hair and buy him a leather jacket now. Then, at least, he'll look the part.
Posted by Emily Guy Birken at 3:12 PM