Friday, November 21, 2008

Aversions to Coats

I don't know what it is, but it seems to be universal (at least universal among my friends) that little kids do NOT want to wear coats. WTH? Do they have higher metabolisms so they don't get cold? Do we get colder as adults? Are they hanging onto the baby fat to keep themselves warm? Are they sneaking a little rum before leaving the house? What is keeping them warm, and what is causing this extreme dislike?

This morning it finally got cold. I am so grateful to have the weather matching my holiday mood, but my mood turned sour when I insisted that Luke needed to wear his coat and he pitched a holy fit about having to wear his coat. I mean a serious two-year-old-lay-down-on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming fit. It has been ages since I've seen such a display. I tried to explain that it was cold and that he needed to wear a coat, but he insisted in a very rude way that he was not going to wear the coat. I insisted that he had to wear the coat and attempted to zip it up at which point he started jumping up and down, twisting and turning and trying to pull his coat off.

I gave him my very best stern mother voice as I said, "Lucas Berend! It is cold outside and you will wear a coat! Now stand still." Him in the whiney voice I loathe to hear, "I don't want to wear my coat!" Me, "It doesn't matter. It is cold and you have to wear your coat." At this point, Luke turns really ugly and in between his angry little sobs he reaches out and tries to squeeze my arm with his hands.

Sounds pretty harmless right? Well, you're right, it is pretty harmless because he isn't strong enough to hurt me that way (yet), but the fact remains that he was trying to hurt me and that does not fly at our house.

My eyes widened as I watched him try to hurt me and I pulled out the Pissed Off Mom Voice (which consists of a lower pitched but louder version of my very best Stern Mother Voice) and I said, "That is IT! You will not hurt me or anyone else. Do not even try it!" I gently tapped his bottom through his jeans (no harm at all, I promise, since he pulled the magic bowed back maneuver - if you're a mom you know what I'm talking about - if you don't know, ask me to demonstrate next time I see you). I pointed to the time out spot and ordered him "Get in Time Out now, and I don't want to hear any crying."

Before moving an inch he opens his mouth as wide as he can and wails as loud as he can in my face "AhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHH!" This turns me into Hysterical Pissed Off Mom, and I yell back (I admit, probably not a good decision), "GET OVER THERE NOW!" With a loud wail he runs to the living room and throws himself onto the carpet in the designated Time Out spot. Then he rolls into his automatic complaints (whether true or not) that he is sick and he starts to cough in a way that would normally indicate he is about to give me a second look at his breakfast, but that never amounts to anything other than him torturing himself to put on a display to gain my sympathy. This continues between sobs and running tears and boogers, as he informs me "I'm sick!" Alternating with a cough-cough and attempted gagging noises. Then he proceeds to grab his stomach and complain in between coughs and gagging, "My stomach hurts."

Now, the first two times he pulled this stunt, I totally was at his side comforting him and trying to soothe him and keep him from barfing all over. After that, I figured out that it is all a contrived show to get my attention off the fact that he just acted like a total brat or was behaving poorly. So now my response (whether appropriate in your estimation or not) is, "Stop it. You're not sick and your stomach wouldn't hurt if you would just stop crying." Of course, this just pisses him off more, but there's no way I'm going to acknowledge his temper tantrum as anything other than just that - a temper tantrum. Of course, he's probably quite right that he feels bad - I remember feeling bad after throwing fits like that too. Still, I'm not giving him sympathy when all he has to do to feel better is stop crying and do what he is told.

After continued coughing, gagging noises and crying, I tell him to get out of time out and go the front door (where Evie is waiting quietly and watching the entire episode without a word - smart girl). He still is ticked and barely moving from his time out spot so I go pick him up and tell him that he is being silly. I try once again to zip his coat, but that just pisses him off even more, so I gave up and walked him to the front door. (Remember, I'm carrying a four year old boy against his will as he struggles against my prego belly, and yet, I find it amazing that I haven't really lost my cool yet, well except for the moment of Hysterical Pissed Off Mom.) We get to the door and I've given up trying to reason with Luke so I just set him down (jacket fully unzipped but still on his body) and we all exit the house into the cold weather.

Before Luke can even get to the car, he starts whining that he is cold. I look at him with my evil squinted mom eyes and think, but don't actually voice, "No Shit!? Ugh!" What I did say was, "That's why you had to wear your coat. Now get in the car so we can get warm." And that was it.

I only convey that story to say, Why the hell don't kids want to wear their coats? Do they truly think that I'm an idiot and it isn't really cold outside? Do they think coats are just a torture device created by mothers and fathers? What is it?


Joan said...

I'm afraid it doesn't get any better as they get older. Colt told me this morning, "I won't be out there long enough to get cold." as he stood there in his T-shirt and shorts. I turned on the TV to show him the wind chill makes it feel like 45 degrees. He the put on his hoodie sweatshirt.
My children DO wear winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter. Go figure!

Mary said...

I am not sure the answer is universal - but I think my daughter just likes to do it all her own way. Now I think of the situation as a natural consequence learning event. "No coat? O-k, go ahead and head outside." Then I grab a coat for when she asks for it once she concedes it is actually cold outside. Saves us alot of grief.

Theresa said...

But that's my whole point - I don't want to have to argue with my children. I shouldn't have to have them tell me no and then go back and account for their unwillingness to listen to me. If I tell them to do something then they shoud do it without a question asked - particularly if it is something as simple as putting your coat on or your shoes on or brushing your teeth. If they don't want to go to a birthday party or eat brussel sprouts then I'm open to discussion, but there are certain things that do not merit discussion or opposition from a four year old, and I will fight them on it because it is a fight I'm going to win. When I say do somthing, they gosh darn better do it because when I tell them not to go into the street it is for their own protection and not just a matter of a mother's preference and the same thing applies to things like wearing a coat, putting on shoes, brushing teeth, taking baths, taking medicine, etc. Once they get to be older, maybe I'll concede on some of these points when they can understand the consequences of their actions. But quite frankly, I don't like little kids telling me no when I've asked them to do something reasonable.

Stacey said...

Eli is the same way. Well we (i.e. Aaron) left Eli's jacket at school yesterday (at least I hope it is at school). After running around looking for his other jacket and finding it this a.m., Aaron then left it on the bar and took Eli on to school without a jacket at all. I guess I will put the blame all on him since he can't defend himself here, ha.

Theresa said...

Did a little checking. Here's an article from a woman in England about kids wearing coats. It comes down to the bottom line of put the coat on and move on. I guess I'm just pissed off because we were almost out the door and then I had to deal with this ridiculous tantrum. I'll try to be better and hopefully Luke will try to be better too.

Stacey said...

The article makes it seem really easy, but when you are in a rush to get out the door and your child gives you the big resistance, what are the odds you will play hide and seek with the coat, or put the coat over the dog?? Not very likely in my house in the morning anyway. It is more likely that Eli would be throwing a tantrum while I am manhandling the coat on him.

Theresa said...

Stac - I totally agree. I'm just thinking next time I will ignore his tantrum and not bother to try and reason with him. Every once in a while I try some of that teasing stuff. In fact, Luke wouldn't get out of bed early last week and put his clothes on and the dog happened to be sitting in front of my and I told Luke I was going to put his sweatshirt on the dog. (no idea what made me think to do this). I was shocked when Luke smiled (he's a cranky boy in the morning) and promptly got out of bed to put his clothes on - all smiles and telling me that dogs don't wear clothes.