Ollie, Ollie, Quite Contrary
Ollie’s contrariness has slowly been on the rise, but I think it’s safe to say it has finally arrived in full force. Up is down, black is white, and Oliver absolutely did NOT get dressed this morning, despite what your eyes tell you.
I mostly think of the automatic disagreement as a 2 year old thing, so Ollie is perhaps a little late to the party, though I do specifically remember thinking that 3 was a more difficult age than 2. So maybe I just don’t remember properly. But seriously, who is this surly, disagreeable, grumpy boy and what has he done with my Oliver?
The hardest part about dealing with a kid this age is that it takes *so* *much* *effort*. Aside from Gandhi-esk patience (which I do not possess), you have to have an unlimited store of creative ways to convince him to do things. You simply cannot force him to go to the potty, or get in the bath, or stop goofing around and eat his breakfast. You really can’t. Instead, every event becomes a test, not of your willpower, but on your ability to trick someone.
The main technique is to distract him. This is a surprisingly easy task with a 3 year old. If you just start talking really fast, it usually only takes 30 seconds or so to find a topic fascinating enough that he will forget you are lifting him on to the potty. Stories work too, or doing something goofy to make him laugh. These things are ten times more effective than bribes, which makes them about a hundred times more effective than threats.
Making threats? That is…not so effective. Unfortunately, that’s kind of where your brain goes naturally, so you do spend a lot of time either backpedaling on those, or trying to make good on a lot of ineffective threats.
And in the meantime? Just keep muttering, “It’s just a phase. It’s just a phase.”