Yesterday, I sent Cole to daycare with no snow pants. The transition from fall to winter has always given me difficulty in the sending-clothes-to-daycare department. As a grown-up, I wear snow pants when there is snow. In daycare land, however, you wear snowpants when it's cold or wet. For the record, I had stored some splash pants in Cole's cubby, but apparently that wasn't good enough. So my ignorance of appropriate winter wear caused a lot of drama. Because he didn't have snow pants, he wasn't allowed to go on the slide. When he came in the door at the end of the day, he smiled at me and said, "Mama, you forgot to give me snow pants!" and then he added, "All the other kids had snow pants." I felt terrible.
This morning, I decided to bundle the kids up and take them out for a run. The temperature is definitely above zero, but in a fast moving stroller, the wind can give quite a chill, I imagine. And in keeping with my lesson learned last night, I resolved to dress the children warmly. Amelia was easy enough. Insert soother. Lie on snow suit. Zip up snow suit. Place in exersaucer.
Then came Cole. "Cole, here are your winter clothes. We're going for a run and then after the run you can watch some t.v."
"I don't WANT to go for a RUN!'
"That's not up for debate. We're going for a run. Put on your snow pants please."
"I don't LIKE my snow pants!"
"Put on your snow pants and you can have a cookie when you're all dressed and in the stroller."
"NO, I don't LIKE my snow pants!"
I got out a gingerbread cookie. He began to cry.
He began to kick his feet and scream.
"NO! NO! NO! I don't want to put on my snow pants!"
"That's 3.... okay, I guess I'm going to eat your cookie."
He began to really shreik.
"Okay, you have a choice to wear your scarf or not....."
"I don't want to put on snow pants!"
I turned away, needing a bit of a breather. I took Amelia out to the front porch and put her in the double stroller and buckled her in. Now I had to leave the front door open so I could keep an eye on her. Never mind the warm air escaping out into the vast winter expanse, all of the neighbours could now see me losing this snow suit battle.
"Fine, you stay here. I'm going for a run, Cole." I tried hard to sound calm.
Then he began to cry, "Mama! Mama!"
So I picked him up under one arm and picked up all of the clothes in my other (this reminds me of a Robert Munsch book) and there was a great crying cafuffle (thankfully his crying not mine) as I tried to force his board-straight legs into the snow pants. He was having none of it.
"Okay. No winter clothes? Fine." (Real life consequences?) I lifted him up and set him in the stroller. His boots and coat and mitts and hat and snow pants lay in surrender there in the doorway as the cool winter air negotiated with his common sense.
I went and sat on the bottom stair and took deep breaths. Cole was still screaming. The neighbours were undoubtedly watching and tsk-tsking. I counted to ten very, very slowly.
Finally (after no more than a minute), Cole's cries turned into, "I'm cold! I'm cold!"
So I scooped him back up and with a "Well, why do you THINK I wanted you to have snow pants on!!!" I quickly put on his winter clothes. He was still screaming, "I don't want to go for a run!" and I was considering whether all this drama was really worth it for a half hour run, when I tried one last time, "Would you like a cookie now? You have to stop crying first." Immediate silence.
I used the old Starbucks napkin in the stroller's cup holder to wipe his tears and gave him a cookie. He chatted happily for the entire run.
And when we arrived back home, and undressed out of our winter clothes I said to Cole, "See how cozy warm you were? That's why you need to wear snow pants when Mom says it's cold out."
And he smiled his charming grin and hugged me and sighed, "Aaaaaaaah. I DO like my snow pants, Mom. I just was tricking you!"
End note: Can you count home many discipline strategies I tried without success?