Little Ayatollah Jr.


I am ruled by a two year old overlord.

He starts at breakfast by asking for juice, then for milk, then for coffee, until the Prince is sitting before a proud display of one or two breakfasts and several drinks. Then it’s onto the battle of getting dressed.  He wants the blue shoes. “No! The blue shooooooes!” So I give in and he ends up wearing sneakers even though it’s minus ten outside.

It goes like this throughout the day until the Raja crawls into bed and demands that my husband or I cuddle him “nice and tight” while he falls asleep. Except that we mere mortals can never get this (or anything) correct.

“No! Right here!” he shouts, moving the offending arm. “Right here! No!” Over and over and over.  Usually my husband succumbs to sleep as a means of escape from this torture.

Mom, if you are reading this right now…I’m sorry.

I will kneel before you and wash your feet. I’ll scrub and vacuum your car.  I’ll do anything. Please, Mom, just lift the curse.  You always looked at me through narrowed eyes and with venom in your voice proclaimed, “I hope you get one just like you!” So I know that even though I’m begging, I know that you’ll never lift the curse because you’re going to love cackling at our battles again and again all the way through Wolfy’s teenage years. Maybe even beyond.

This independent, demanding quality must run in our family. At two years old, I used to climb back into my high chair shouting, “Self! Self! Self!”  Now if I dare to trespass on Wolfy’s spirit by pulling up his pants for him, he’ll pull them down again and admonish me, “I do it myself!” I have no choice but to let him walk around with his undies around his ankles if that’s what he wants.

I’m not sure exactly what I did as a child to earn the nickname in my family, Little Ayatollah. But recently I’ve experienced the feeling of being bossed around all day by someone who is less than three feet tall. Yet I hold an image in my mind of Wolfy as a giant sneering and pointing down at me and his father, huddled together in a pathetic heap. The caption reads, “We just wanted to let him choose his own socks. We thought it would make him happy!”

I’ve read the parenting books and the pithy articles on the internet.

I know that as the mother of a two year old, I’m supposed to hold out two cups and let his Highness pick the one he deigns suitable for his orange juice. I even offer him the choice of doing something “right now or in ten seconds”.

While all of these strategies may appease him for a moment, it seems that Wolfy has taken to controlling his life and surroundings with a passion that I couldn’t have predicted. I did everything that was supposedly right and yet I wonder if I’m raising a monster.

I’ve heard the advice, “don’t get into a power struggle with a two year old, you will never win.”

So for now, I rely on my ability to occasionally outsmart him with a carefully executed plan in order to survive the grocery store.  Or I can sometimes employ the distraction technique of singing Itsy Bitsy Spider so that he will actually go pee in a public bathroom stall.

I guess I should feel lucky that at least Wolfy usually doles out a please or thank you when giving orders to his minions. I guess my husband and I should consider ourselves fortunate to be living under a benevolent dictatorship.

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