It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Do I really need this?

“But I WANT to!!!!!”

Nigel’s outrage is heartfelt. And more than a little exasperating. It doesn’t matter what it is, these days. When he’s told no, or that he’ll have to wait, or that a plan will be changing …

“But I WANT to!!!”

As if the world must needs stop and deliver precisely what he desires, simply because he desires it. In and of itself, this position is not noteworthy. All toddlers feel that way.

“I WANT!!!”

… is all that matters. Other peoples’ needs, the pressures of time, the realities of space, season, logistics, the laws of physics … none of this matters at all, all of these are mere distractions from the almighty…

“I WANT!!!!”

Except that this has never, not once, EVER worked at my house. Yes, it works in other sectors of his reality, but it does NOT work here. Give me a petulant foot-stomp and “I WANT” and you’re far more likely to get a rousing rendition of

You can’t. Always get. What you wa-ah-ahnt…

than you are to get you what you want. (Which reaction is, of course, exactly what they need. They don’t want it or like it, but, my job is to see that they get, like the song says, what they need. Caving in to a petulant “I WANT” is precisely the opposite of what they need. At the very least, they can ask politely.)

And so, though he did of course try it on me when he entered the turbulent storms of toddler-hood a year ago, it took only three or four weeks to eradicate that delightful little quirk. Oh, well. He’s a smart lad. Another couple of weeks of diligent, consistent, re-training, and we’ll have it out of his behavioural repertoire. At my house, at any rate.

But, ugh.

Why has is come back? It’s obnoxious. It’s petulant. It’s exasperating. It’s LOUD.

I don’t WANT it. Booo…

Maybe it’s for my sake? Maybe the fates have determined that Mary needs a little character-honing? Maybe Nigel’s regression is a sort of professional development?


You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need.

(For your entertainment: that’s a YouTube link to a very old recording of the song. Craggy old Mick looks as fresh and dewy-faced as he probably ever did.)

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Nigel, power struggle | 10 Comments