Friday, June 4, 2010

Jacob's Right

Jacob has entered the phase of toddlerhood where he wants to argue with or correct everything, especially what I say. Consider some examples:
  • I suggested we go to the movies. Jacob said, "No, daddy, we go to movie theater." So much for that outing.
  • Of the three or four songs I've made up for diaper changes, only one is the right one according to Jacob. If I start singing Super Fast Diaper Change he says, "No, no, sing Change That Diaper!" He'll even sing the first few words to get me started.
  • One of his library books has this line: "Thanks, D.W." whispered Aunt Lucy. When I read it, I whisper what's inside the quotation marks and use a normal voice for the end of the sentence. Jacob corrects me by saying "Thanks, D.W." out loud and whispering the rest. He usually isn't satisfied until I say it his way.
  • We argued today about a big mess that he made in the play room. I said he had to help clean up. He said no. When I insisted, he told me, "Jacob said no!" So I replied that he could help me clean up or have a time out. He countered with asking to watch a video. After he refused to choose two more times, I gave him the time out. He was pretty upset, but we were okay afterward.
  • At meal time, Jacob often wants to leave before he's had enough. I usually say, "Two more bites and you can get down." Sometimes he goes along with the offer, but other times he replies with "Jacob said no!" Luckily he is not too insistent. Maybe he knows that two bites really isn't too much. Sometimes he tries to renegotiate the terms and says, "No, Jacob wants five bites." I usually cave in to such a tactic.
  • At nap time and bed time, we read three books and then he goes to sleep. Here he also tries to renegotiate and says, "No, five books." Angie and I don't give in this situation. He's tried it on babysitters Carlos and Rosemary to no avail.
  • Jacob has learned to climb into his seat in the van by himself. Consequently he wants to do it by himself every time. Sometimes he goes quicker than other times. If he's too slow (e.g. I've already put Lucy in her car seat, taken out some trash, loaded the car with canvas shopping bags and library returns, etc.), I count to ten and if he isn't sitting by ten, I pick him up and put him in the chair. The first two or three time he was really upset about being picked up ("I wanted to do it myself!!!" amidst sobs of anguish), but lately it is just a game. He makes some token protest but is grinning as a strap him into the car seat.
  • Yesterday he went out to the sprinkler with Mommy but protested he couldn't go because he didn't have a swim diaper on. Luckily he was persuaded that it was okay without it. Even luckier, he didn't insist that Mommy and Daddy have swim diapers!
The pediatrician warned us that Jacob would be testing his limits and trying to get away with as much as possible in his second year. He's also giving his parents a lot of opportunities to develop patience. I'd like to say, "Thanks, Jacob" but I don't know if I should whisper or shout.


  1. I'm sure we'll be hitting you up for suggestions, tips, and examples when Colin gets to that age. Has Jacob started down the infinite regress of why questions?

  2. He hasn't discovered the "why" regress yet. A couple of years ago I went to an all day philosophy conference. The first speaker mentioned in passing that his young child asks "why" all the time and the speaker took it as a sign of curiosity and wonder at the world around him. In the afternoon, a different speaker (who clearly hadn't heard the earlier talk) mentioned that his children (four or five of them, all in teens to twenties) had asked "why" a lot. That speaker took it as a sign of the children's wanting attention.

    So if you ever speak at a conference, be sure to listen to the speakers before you!

  3. Will continue to be non-negotiable on bedtime books! Good to know!

    And glad to hear Mommy and Daddy care enough to say no!