We had a generally fine day yesterday with one huge snarl in third act, a bath time confrontation that devolved into trench warfare with startling rapidity. Before that we'd played (Fuss' pirate crew assaulting a dollhouse the wife had found in the street, throwing Cozy Friends at each other,) eaten and even gotten dressed without any outstanding conflicts. And surprise of surprises, he had an answer for me when I asked where he wanted to go for lunch, a request I nearly tripped over myself in hurrying to accept.
So we ate a companionable lunch then we went for a nature walk to look for turtles & stroll the boardwalk.
We ended up hanging out on the viewing platform overlooking the estuary for a good hour acting out a variety of Fuss authored dramatic scenes (Okay, we're pirates, and we want that birds EGGS for lunch! Okay, We're sailing to the MOON to get cheese for our pizza! Okay, I'm the Kitty from the Black Lagoon, and you don't see me hiding under here but then I jump out and scare you! etc etc etc.) until two gentlemen with three dachshunds between them, the dogs in matching turquoise studded collars, strolled up and joined us. Hearing their approach Fuss scrambled underneath the bench I was sitting on, hissing "you pretend I'm not here!"
He remained silently in I was in the midst of answering a question about how to find Pirate's Cove, when with impeccable timing he sprang forth and tipped the dachshunds into a collective nervous breakdown. The caption for the steel etching of this climactic moment in a turn of the century boy's adventure book would read 'Anarchy at the Estuary'.
I whisked him away posthaste and we detoured through the grocery store on the way home, procuring several different colors of juice pursuant to the concoction of multi-layer popcicles in his new robot molds he's been obsessed with.
And then, dear readers, our troubles began.
The way bedtime works is that at the appointed hour we have a bath, and then we put on our jammies, and THEN we play games for a little while on Dada's phone (originally it was on the computer, but the computer is also a portal to the netherworld of Youtube & suchlike so now it's on Dada's phone which is easy to lock down), then we read books, then we argue about just ONE MORE book, a short one, then, eventually, we sleep.
Thus has it been since time immemorial, or since he started sleeping regularly enough for the word "bedtime" to mean anything.
Last night he asked for games before bath, which is what he always wants but then usually acquiesces to the established schedule with good grace. That's how how we always do things, and he understands Dada's stubbornness is equal to his own.
Last night rather than his usual halfhearted demand & quick retreat he dug his heels in, transforming a simple 15 minute transition into an extended firefight. Nights are already rough because everybody's tired. With Fuss, as contrary, stubborn and smart as he is, the patience of whichever of us has spent the day with him is reliably exhausted...and the other has been working retail all day.
The potential for nonconstructive conflict is hard to overstate.
So a lengthy wrangle ensued, with the inevitable result that he took the damn bath after a pointless battle with an inevitable conclusion. I give myself props for not losing my temper, which even though I know accomplishes nothing, gets no one anywhere & is entirely counterproductive still gets loose now and then. I stayed calm, I explained the situation to him endlessly, I ignored his provocations, and in alliance with the wife finally managed to get him in first into the bathroom, and then into the tub.
Once in the tub he was, of course, happy as a lark and had to be coaxed out when the water had cooled.
He had, as is his habit, capered along the line of losing his game privileges for the night without entirely crossing over, and so once he was dressed for bed I lay down with him & read my book while he perused the latest iteration of Angry Birds (Abra-Ca-Bacon, for the curious).
We shared a pleasant while together, then I read him a book & he passed out moments after I closed the cover.