It is my pleasure to present this week’s guest blogger. Gina Gennari is an English Professor, blogger, writer, and TV addict who is currently in the process of editing her first YA novel. She lives in Southeastern PA and is a mom to a chatty and cheerful two-year-old son, Jude, and to two sweet cats, Harry + Aggie. Though she misses sleeping in, taking long, luxurious afternoon naps, and going to the movies, she wouldn’t rather anything other than her current chaotic, happy life.
“How about the Black Keys?” he asks.
“Honey, I’m a little tired of the Black Keys. Is there something else you’d like to hear?” I say, glancing at him in the rearview mirror.
“How about Mumford and Sons?”
“You got it,” I say, tuning to track one on the album and turning up the volume.
I knew some day my son would start bossing me around, but I wasn’t prepared for it to happen at age two.
He sits back there in his car seat, singing along, pausing to point out every truck, excavator, dump truck, and bus along our route, happy until he decides that he’d like to listen to The White Stripes—like now.
Before the age of eighteen months, Jude didn’t have much in the way of opinions, aside from his disdain for tummy time, store bought milk, and socks. Except for the 27-pound stroller, the bulky infant car seat, and a bag filled with supplies we might need during a one-hour shopping trip to the mall, it was easy to cart him from place to place in that he was content to just sit/lay/sleep there while I did my thing.
I knew that some day, my baby boy would be more independent and would have his own ideas about what he liked and wanted, but as I mentioned above, I didn’t know those days would get here so soon. It started small at first. One afternoon, I rolled us towards the children’s section of H&M, and he said:
“No, no! Go home!”
What? I thought. No more shopping?! Has he gone mad? So, I bribed him with a pretzel, which ended up being one delicious distraction. Soon, though, the pretzel couldn’t satiate him enough. He needed to be entertained, and the gentle muzak piping through the speakers above wasn’t enough. He started asking for my iPhone, and because I am weak and love to peruse through racks of clothing at a leisurely pace, I agreed. Nowadays, it’s getting tougher and tougher to keep him in that stroller, but if he thinks I’m going to give up the mall, he’s not operating in reality.
Or maybe I’m not.
Recently, Jude decided that he doesn’t like the confines of clothes. In the heat of summer, when we’re just hanging out around the house, that’s fine. But when we have to go out in to the world, it’s a real problem. It began with his shoes. He’s never been much for them and didn’t wear them for the first whole year of his life, so it’s not a surprise that he thinks they are uncomfortable and unnecessary.
The minute he’s in the car—or in my arms, or safely seated in a high chair at a restaurant, or anywhere with his feet above the ground—he says, “I take the shoes off.”
It’s quite frustrating.
A couple of weeks ago, while trying to get him dressed for a quick but urgent trip to Target, he threw an epic fit when I tried to get him into his shorts. Every time I got a leg in one side, the other would come kicking out as he flailed, cried and yelled, “I no wear pants!”
“Jude! Please,” I pleaded, wrestling him into the garment.
I continued, “And you should be glad for that, believe me! Everyone wears pants, and you have to, too!”
It was a hard fought battle, with many tears and much anguish, but eventually, I came out victorious—if not a little frazzled/sweaty.
I don’t want to raise an entitled, ungracious child, but I also want him to feel loved and validated and to know that does have choices in this world. I get it; I’m stubborn to my core, but I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to compromise, and he will, too.
We’ll clash over things that are important—and some things that aren’t—but I am figuring out that when he throws a crying, meltdown fit if we can’t listen to the same Vampire Weekend song 40 times in a row, I should just bite my tongue, hit repeat, and dance along.
But wearing pants? That’s never up for negotiation.
What music did you listen to as a kid/tween?
Were you a shopper?
Also, this is the last day to win a copy of my book over at the Storymen Podcast. While there, listen to a pretty hilarious interview I did with J.R. and Clay.