Games start next week for my softball team, so we had a practice tonight. Because my husband was not yet home from work, I took V with me. I planned ahead. I brought his baseball bat and ball to keep him entertained, and I brought snacks and juice. I had it all planned out. I’d play with him awhile and then I’d practice awhile – back and forth. My friends, whom he knows, would take turns playing ball with him while I practiced. It’s worked before.

But not tonight.

Tonight V wanted nothing to do with anyone other than myself. So, no practice for me. After nearly an hour of playing catch with him, he cried when I told him it was time to go home for dinner. Cried the whole drive home. Cried when we got in the house. Cried, cried, cried. He never does this. I didn’t respond to him because I didn’t want it to get worse and I didn’t want to encourage it. In a calm voice I asked him what was wrong. CRACKERRRRRR!, he cried. In an effort not to reward him with his request (demand, actually) when he’s crying, I tried reasoning with him that I’d give him a cracker only when he stopped crying because crying is not the way to get what he wants. To my amazement, it worked. He finally stopped crying, but not before the damage was done. I had a screaming headache.

V was cranky all night tonight. Didn’t want to eat dinner at the table. Didn’t want to take a bath. Didn’t want to read. All things we normally do without incident around here. Recognizing he’s a two year old, and life is unpredictable, I didn’t fight him. I let him have his cranky night and I tried my best to keep my headache from taking over my entire body.

It was a tough night. I was looking forward to getting him to bed so I could try to nurse my headache. When tucking V in bed, after our bedtime story I always tell him I love him and goodnight. Tonight it felt like I was going through the motions just so I could get him down. Barely even aware of the story I was reading, as I finished I bent down to kiss him goodnight and he sweetly said “I love you, Mom”. He beat me to the punch. He’s never beaten me to the punch before! What a fabulously rosy ending to a thorny night.

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