Mom, get me a snack. “Okay, what would you like?” “Whatever.” This conversation is becoming very common in my house. It usually starts at about seven o’clock at night and ends anywhere from five minutes to an hour later. The one asking me for the snack is my son. You would think he is easy to please. After all he is saying whatever. Meaning anything would be fine right? No, by whatever he means anything but the options I give. “Okay, how about an apple?” “No, I don’t want a yucky apple; I already ate one today.” I take a deep breath and try to think of another option. Usually I suggest something that won’t take too much effort. “How about a nice bowl of cereal?” I can tell by the piercing gaze he is giving me he does not want cereal either. “No, I don’t want cereal and I don’t want an apple,” he yells back. “Well then what do you want?” I ask trying to refrain from screaming. “Whatever just get me something,” he says. I explain in by best teacher voice that “whatever” means, anything you decide to give me is fine. If he doesn’t feel that way then he will have to think about what exactly it is he wants. “I want a snack,” is his response. After running down a list of snacks that don’t require a pot or pan my patience grows thin. I try to remind myself I am the adult and he is the child. There is no reason for me to get in a fighting match over something so silly. My good angel is whispering be patient dear, your child is hungry you wouldn’t want him to go to bed hungry would you? But in the other ear is my bad angel-Tell the kid to stop whining, think about what it is he wants, and tell you when he figures it out. And hey he’s not going to bed hungry you had dinner an hour ago. I take him to the refrigerator and give him a mini tour- he finds nothing appealing. I point to what he can have in the junk drawer-licorice, crackers, an Oreo cookie or two, but advise that chips are out of the question. He decides he’s not hungry after all. I swallow hard and try to calm the nerves that have been dancing through me for the past forty minutes. I call on the breathing techniques I learned in yoga and escort him back to the couch. I applaud myself for not losing it. After about five minutes he looks at me and says “I’m thirsty, get me whatever.”  

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