The other night was beautiful here, so we packed up dinner and went to the park to have a picnic. The park we go to has mulch covering the playground, however, and this is a problem. C likes to throw mulch when he’s Being Bad.

So, we’re sitting on the blanket eating, and C decides to walk several steps away and start throwing mulch. J asks him to stop, and soon there’s an old-fashioned Battle of Wills taking place. Fortunately, I’m on the sidelines for this one.

If you’ve never been in a Battle of Wills, this is a great example: J wants C to stop throwing mulch and come back to the picnic blanket. C wants to throw mulch. It sounds simple, right? There’s more to it. You see, J does not want to have to get up, because doing so demonstrates that C is not listening to her. She wants him to obey because he wants to, not because he’s forced to. C knows this, and is trying to throw as much mulch as possible without making J get up. If she gets up, he knows he’s in Real Trouble.

Me, I’m handling N and carefully keeping a straight face. Here’s how the Battle of Wills ends:
J (forcefully but not yelling): "I said put that mulch down."
C (pointing behind us): "Look Mama, a squirrel!"
J turns and looks: "You’re right, there is a squirrel!"
C throws mulch and runs to sliding board to play

Me, I burst out laughing. As it sinks in what has happened, J can’t help but laugh too. C has won that particular Battle of Wills, using one of our own favorite tactics against us.

Note to new parents: be careful of The Distraction. It’s a two edged sword.

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