Archer 1, parental authority 0

Archer was home from preschool all last week with a fever. Andrea and I took turns missing work to care for him. Happily, his fever broke on Friday night and he was fine all weekend.

Having lots to catch up on at work, Andrea and I were eager to get the kids off to preschool this morning. But Archer had gotten used to lots of one-on-one parent-child time and was determined to stay home again. He refused to allow me to dress him. I coaxed him gently for a while and promised some fun family activities after school and work, but to no avail. Then I ratcheted up the sternness and started to tell him that certain privileges would be unavailable later if he continued to resist me now. When that didn’t result in improved cooperation, I resorted to, “Do we do this the easy way or the hard way?” The kids know that the hard way is no fun, so this threat almost always works — but not this time.

So, the hard way. I confiscated the items that Archer had been carrying around and pinned him to the changing table while wrestling his pajama top off and then his shirt on over his head. After lots of struggle, and plenty of crying from Archer, I managed to get his clothes on.

My victory was short-lived. Archer still held the trump card — the one sure way to make me remove the clothes I had just forcibly caused him to wear. With an assist from his convulsive crying and a belly full of Malt-O-Meal, he barfed all over them.

A cautionary tale for all who believe their authority is absolute.

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