The Grumpiest Day of the Year

Last night we had a lovely time at the Lomo y Queso home, enjoying dinner with old and new friends. Simon was spectacularly behaved, spending most of the 3 or so hours in the impending baby's room, joyfully occupied with plush baby toys. He ate a decent dinner, didn't destroy any artifacts in the home, and even put on a little plush animal flipping show for the dinner guests, at one point. I missed it, but heard it was a smashing success. We left a little after 10, stuffed with tasty food and feeling proud of our little guy. Two hours after bedtime! And no exhaustion-related meltdowns! Just a pleasant, beautiful boy, admired by all. Ahhh...... this parenting stuff is a breeze, no?

It took me about 15 minutes this morning to realize that I would pay today for the sleep Simon lost last night. EVERY LITTLE THING set him off. There are too many examples to list, but the one real thorn in my side this morning was his milk. Simon drinks soymilk as if he is breathing in air. He requires a full cup at all times, and the only step we have been able to take in softening this demand is to teach him to say, "Milk, please," when he asks for it. So, sure, he asks politely, but that does not change the fact that he needs it at every waking moment. Seriously, soymilk is his lifeblood. I don't even keep track of how much he actually drinks, because it would be too depressing to calculate how much of our grocery budget goes toward this one item alone. I'll just say that when we go to the store, we buy 5 cartons at a time. And we make multiple trips weekly, people. Think about that.

Anyway, this morning I brought Simon his milk in a red sippy cup. This was not pleasing to him. He would have much preferred a blue or a green sippy cup, and he made his displeasure known by not only refusing the milk, but by chucking it, along with a bowl of cheerios, across the room. In the history of Simon, there has only been one other day when the sippy cup color preference was so strongly expressed. That day, he staged a thirst strike and would not drink his milk from the 'wrong' colored cup. I resolutely denied his request for a different color cup, imagining the demands this would give way to in the future. I stayed strong, and by lunch, the thirst strike was over.

Today, perhaps bolstered by that article about Guantanamo detainees I saw him reading last week, he blew right past lunch, holding fast to his demand for a different cup. Also, just to confuse me, he kept throwing in whiny appeals to "drink cold milk," as if the temperature of the milk was the problem, not the color of the cup. I pulled out the most ineffective parenting trick in the book, trying to reassure him that the milk had just come out of the fridge; it couldn't get any colder. Applying reason to the emotional tyranny of an over-tired two year old. Brilliant.

He ate a good lunch, though he must have been mighty thirsty, and I immediately put him down for a nap. This effort was met with much screaming, thrashing, and requests for cold milk. So, being so smart and all, I brought him that red cup again! More throwing, screaming, etc. I decided to try to rock him to sleep, figuring he must be soooo tired. He would just melt in my arms, right? But I soon learned that the back and forth, back and forth of a rocking chair did not have the same hypnotic effect on a determined toddler as it does on a suggestible little baby. As I realized that he was not going to forget about the milk, I thought again about the demand for a different cup. I shouldn't give in, should I? It's the principle of the thing, right? One sippy cup is as good as the next, and I had already told him no.

Yet, the minutes ticked by, and Simon could not be subdued. I had a new thought: Maybe principles aren't so important on the grumpiest day of the year.

Right now, Simon is curled up in bed, snoozing away, clutching a green sippy cup that was emptied of its soylicious contents almost as soon as it touched his hand. 'The principle of the thing' is often important and worth fighting for, but today the most important thing was a NAP. Yes, the nap will save us all today. I think I'll go take one of my own.

To those of you who issued a gentle reprimand for the infrequency of our posts lately, this is what you get. A long ass post about sippy cups. Enjoy!


snokilla said...

He must associate the red sippy cup with something negative. hmmm. You should try to give him milk from the red cup again, and see if he has a similar action. Good job holding up on the tantrums, that is no easy feat.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy.

Laura - I was just blown away with respect for you while reading this account of 2-year-old stubbornness. And I thought I was already at the height of my awe for you. Awe-inspiring!! :) Also, I find it a wonder that my own mother isn't insane, having had 5 kiddies and all.

I saw Drew tonight, out of the blue. Synchronicity. Fate. Magic. I love it.

Chicago is calling .....