Doing battle with a three-year-old

I try not to say too much about DH in my blog because he’s rather mystified by the concept of Facebook updates let alone blogging.

But I can’t resist documenting a conversation I overheard between him and the little boy this weekend.

LB wanted a carton of strawberry milk, which I’ve taken to buying so their apple juice consumption can no longer be measured by the gallon.

He was refusing to say please and DH was – for the umpteenth time – trying to teach him to remember his manners.

This went on for at least half the morning. I would probably have buckled far sooner.

LB managed to manoeuvre DH into the kitchen and they were both standing by the open cupboard.

“Say please,” says DH, his hand reaching up and hovering over the strawberry milks.

“THAT ONE,” LB retaliates, pointing at the cartons (“Can’t you see? They’re right there!” he’s thinking)

“What do you say?”

“At the T.O.P.” responds LB, getting more and more exasperated he’s having to give orders for something so simple.

“If you won’t say please, you can’t have it.” DH pretends to walk away.

“T.U.R.N A.R.O.U.N.D,” yells LB [angry tears].

I crept away, pretty sure DH would win (my mother-in-law used to talk about running etiquette classes, and we do try to hammer home the manners).

But, a little later, I notice LB running round with his ‘pink milk’ and DH, on the sofa, looking a little, dare I say it, beaten.

“He won’t get away with it next time,” mutters DH.

Three-year-olds, honestly. As cute as a button – but compared to life now, don’t you think our pint-size dictators make pregnancy seem like a nine-month massage?

Once we've got the please and thank yous down pat, we can move on to using napkins, knowing when to be silent and table taboos! I'd better start reading this book by etiquette expert Ava Carroll-Brown

PHOTO CREDIT: Ava Carroll-Brown

4 thoughts on “Doing battle with a three-year-old

  1. “I’ll be very pleased to get the strawberry milk as soon I hear a ‘please.'” Then turn and find a chore to do. No eye contact. No waiting and giving tons of attention. As soon as you hear “please,” then immediately reward with a smile and compliance. Next step is both “please” and “thank you.” You handle it the same way. No arguing, no pleading, no interaction. If “thank you” doesn’t come, just silently put carton back on the shelf and continue to do something else. It works, it really does. A gentle way of teaching. Thanks, Barb

    • Thank you Barb! I just popped over to your site – what a wonderful resource! I’ll be back! Keep up the good work over there – and thank you for dropping by my blog and the much-appreciated tips

  2. Hi there – I said I’d be along to look at your blog, and here I am! Great to hear about life in Dubai with children. Sounds like you have the same parenting challenges we have in New York but in an entirely alien climate. I have a couple of friends here who were in Dubai before they moved to NY and they tell tales of darting from one air-conditioned space to another in order to avoid the burning sun. Hard to imagine, especially as it’s tipping down here right now. I identify with your strawberry milk story. I go into battle with my three year old every day, and he can’t quite yet understand the difference between ‘I want’ and ‘I would like’. Good luck with your blog – I’ll be back!

    • Hi Applepip! Thanks for the comment! Yes, same parenting challenges, different scenery! Lots of sand for the boys to play in, but the outdoors inaccessible for more than 4 months a year, which is frustrating esp with boys, who as you know, need to be running off energy or they climb the walls! but the temperature is really dropping now and it’s finally our turn for some great weather! Talking of which, I heard you have snow on the way – goodness that’s early?! hope your boys have fun and hope you don’t have to do too much shovelling! We used to live in the States (Minneapolis) so know all about snow! I’ll be back over to your blog very soon!

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