Conflicting Directives

So, we went this weekend to go visit my family for a change, as part of a trip to hit Surfers Healing in Belmar, New Jersey.  We don’t see my family often – there’s a great bit of distance between us, physically – and so this was the first time in a while that they’ve seen R and the Monster.

Because it was lovely weather, we decided to get out a sprinkler and let the kids go splashing in it.

And herein lay the problem – while we’d brought extra swimsuits for our kids, we’d left them at the hotel.  No problem: the Monster could go in the sprinkler in his shorts and underwear, right?  (R was napping.)  It seemed an easy solution, and we always have extra underwear and shorts for him when we’re not at home.

Except that we’ve been working so, so hard on getting him to understand that it’s not appropriate to jump in the water fully dressed.  This problem did not dawn on either of us until the Monster got hesitant about going in.  First, he tried to insist on stripping all the way down – a no-no in my mother’s front yard – and then he just kept protesting about getting changed to go in.

The solution, of course, was for me to pick him up and drag him through it, swinging him back and forth until he was good and wholly soaked.  By then, he stopped protesting about the issue, and went back to playing.  (I’m aware that I’m liable to have issues when we next are beside a pool or the like with him fully clothed, as a result.)  Still, at least it got him to go through the sprinkler.

I think the real issue here was more that we’ve worked so hard on establishing a norm (“people do not play in the pool in their clothes”) and he’s not in a mode to handle the exceptions (“except when Abba and Mommy say so”).  It’s something we’re going to have to bear in mind as he gets older, really.

Note: I’ll post about Sunday tomorrow – as I write this, I’m at 35,000 feet on my way to Austin for business reasons.  My posts may be a little uneven until I get back home on Thursday evening… but I also want to be able to share pics and whatnot, and typing on an airplane isn’t conducive for that. 😉

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