I feel really thankful that I am parenting with other moms who have similar aged children..and are just a little bit ahead of me with good perspective to share. Thank you - friends and family! In light of Robby's 48 hour hold-out of refusal to brush his teeth, we have learned a lot. He did choose to brush his teeth tonight after every single car, lego, camel, and then food privileges (he could choose water and veggies for dinner - or brush his teeth) were in timeout. He brushed, and it went just fine.
Things we have learned:
-Robby has choices in everything - but we must establish non-negotiables and create his choices in those non-negotiables.
-We will teach good hygiene to our children. Brushing our teeth is something we will do daily. If he wants to choose to make it easy or choose difficulty - he can. (my comment from my friend about his baby teeth was to bring levity - not to make it ok that he's refusing)
-We will wash our hands after using the potty. He can choose to cooperate or I can drag him to the sink while he kicks and screams and yells while I sing the ABC's as we wash our hands together.
-We will wash our hair and our bodies in the bathtub each time. He can choose to scream bloody murder and win an Oscar for a stellar drama performance, or he can take it well. Either way, we do this. We do all of this, and with grace and love and kindness.
A friend relayed: "so... i have been on the floor, straddling a boy, my calves over his arms, my feet holding his head in place so that my hands are free to brush his teeth :) yep, done it! i would tell robby that this is something he has to do every night. he doesn't have a choice. either he is going to cooperate with you and make it easy, or you are going to do it yourself and it will be hard."
Great advice. I like it.
Another great piece of advice I got from a Mom in her 50's was: "Parenting is exhausting and hard, isn't it? If you are parenting well, it's hard."
Here's to the literal and figurative wrestling, to the early-life battles, to the hard work. We have to do the hard work now, so that they are the men and women of character as adults.
You can do this, sweet mothers. I believe in you.
(Robby trying out Mama's Spring boots....with just a shirt....and nothing else. Love my boy.)