There have been many times when Kieran’s willful disposition has gotten the best of me.
One time occurred yesterday.
He made a point to step over a cricket carcass, announce its existence (and grossness) to the family, and walk away from it.
In the spirit of finders clean up “the mess,” I asked Kieran to pick up the cricket and throw it in the trash.
This is when his willfulness set in.
An hour later, I noticed that the cricket was still lying at the bottom of the step.
I called out, “Kieran, that cricket is still where you left him. I asked you to clean him up. Please do that now.”
About 20 minutes later, that cricket was unmoved, untouched.
“Kieran, can I see you please?”
“Why is that cricket still on the floor?”
“Oh, I’m not touching that thing.”
“I asked you to clean it up.”
“I know, but I don’t touch bugs, dead or alive.”
“Clean it up now!”
“I’m not going to. You can take my iPod away from me for a month. I’m not doing it.”
Finally, “It’s going to be worse for you than a lost iPod. Clean it up!”
After five more minutes of this type of conversation and my walking away, I glimpsed him emerge from the kitchen with an oven mitt and a roll of paper towels.
“Great! Clean up the cricket.”
He got a half a flight of steps closer to it and stopped.
“I can’t touch it.”
“You won’t feel anything through the oven mitt and a roll of paper towels. Clean it up!”
“I can’t. I won’t. You cannot make me,” said my twelve-year-old son.
I was beaten. I couldn’t make him. I was infuriated and defeated by the lost battle. I didn’t know what else to say.
All of a sudden, Liam, who is more afraid of bugs that Kieran, said, “Mom if it’s that important to you, I’ll do it.”
(As an aside, Liam dropped the cricket on the way to the trash can, due to not being able to feel or grasp it through the mitten and wad of paper towels).
Sometimes, a compliant child is a breath of fresh air.