I believe my 4-year-old son, Max, thinks I am a joke. I picked him up from preschool this afternoon and he let me know what he thinks about me – that I am a laughingstock, that I am a stooge. He shared this with me in several ways.
When I walked into his classroom, he sat on the floor just looking at me. His teacher, attempting to come to my rescue, encouraged him to get up. He eventually stood smiled at me. He finally stood up and came over to me after further encouragement from his teacher. He stood in front of me for a minute just studying me and trying to figure out his next play. I looked back at him. He finally asked me one question, “Where is mommy?” I told him she was still at work and he said “NOOOOOOOOO.” I continued to stare at him. He figured out his next play and asked me a second question: “Is Papa at our house?” I told him yes and proceeded to walk over to his cubby. He picked up his blanket that was supposed to stay at school (so that we don’t have to lug it back and forth every day). I told him the blanket can stay at school so that it is here tomorrow and he just said he needed it. So, I carried it to the car knowing that he would never touch it again and that I would have to tote it inside and somehow stage the blanket so that it makes it back to school tomorrow.
After we got into the car and drove away, I turned on the Waze app to help me dodge traffic on our drive home. When the Waze app said “turn left,” Max made sure to let me know which way I needed to drive by reminding me “he said turn left.” I kept driving until the next turn when the Waze app said “turn right” and Max again felt the need to make sure I knew what to do by pointing out the Waze app’s instructions, “he said turn right.” It was as if Max was telling me what to do because he didn’t think I understood the instructions. He continued to point out to me every instruction the Waze app communicated the entire 16 mile drive home.
At one part of our drive, he even began to play mind games with me. He asked me if he had baseball practice tonight and I said no. I told him Madden and Miles have baseball practice. He responded, “I don’t get to play baseball.” I reminded him that he had practice yesterday and that he has practice again on Thursday. He followed up with, “No I don’t because I don’t get to play baseball.” Not sure why he was arguing with me. I guess he was just stating his dominance. It was as if he was letting me know that he was the king and I was his jester.
Just look at the smile on the little dictator’s face. It’s as if his smile was communicating his power and control over me. He was letting me know that he thinks I am a sucker and he is in charge. He even instructed me on what song to play (and I mean song, as in singular, because it was the only one he would let us listen to the entire 35 minute commute). We listened to”Stressed Out,” a song by Twenty One Pilots during the entire drive. Don’t get me wrong, I like the song – at least I did until hearing it that many times in a row. The song is 3 minutes and 22 seconds long so I guess we heard it about 10 times. He told me to turn it up. He told me it was too loud. He told me to turn it down. He told me he couldn’t hear it. When the song was over and the next song in my play list came on at one point, Max told me to turn it off. He said “play Stressed Out.” Max was now letting me know that he was the puppet master and I was his puppet.
Max, thank you for letting me know where I stand. Thank you for letting me know that you think I am a joke. You have clearly become the boss. You are the one in charge because I have no idea what I am doing. You are the king, and I am your jester. You are the puppet master, and I am your puppet.