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Cara Paiuk Headshot

I Lack The Discipline to Discipline My Son

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I have a problem. I know many other mamas would think this is far from a problem, but I assure you, it is.

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This is how many of the conversations with my 3 ½ year old are going these days:

Me: Aiven, please go pick up your toys.
Aiven: But, Mommy, I love you.

Me: Aiven! You are interrupting. Please say excuse me or wait until we finish talking.
Aiven: But, Mommy, I love you. You are so pretty. I love your hair.

Me: Aiven, sweetheart, please stop hanging off of my arm.
Aiven: But Mommy, I loooooovvve you. I love you sooooooo much.

And then he proceeds to hug me with a huge grin on his face. This grin:

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Yes, I am being played. I know it. But my heart melts EVERY TIME he says I love you. Or I smile ear to ear. Or laugh. He knows how to break my will to discipline. He knows how to soften my anger. He KNOWS! How does he play me, a professional negotiator, who has made grown men beg for mercy?

My darling son is superhumanly enthusiastic and upbeat. It's one of his most endearing qualities. So even though he is manipulating me, he is also genuinely exuberant about expressing his love for me. Which I have to say is the most giddy feeling. I know that one day, this first-born son, the one I dreamed of for so many years and now is here, will no longer want to say these things, hug me, or cuddle me at every opportunity. He is just so darn cute and sweet and loving and affectionate, I just feel that I have to soak it all up now while I still can. So, I can't bring myself to discipline him effectively. Why would I want to ruin our lovefest?

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Aiven wakes me up every morning by nuzzling his sweet mouth against my ear and yelling, "Buen dia! Wake up, Mommy! The sun is out!" He then kisses my cheek, waits two seconds for me to spring awake, and repeats the above phrase even louder in my ear. When I all I want to do is be grumpy until I have a sip of coffee, I open my eyes and see this:

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Yeah -- YOU try to be grumpy with that in-your-face smile!

We make our way downstairs and he just pours the love on. It's hard to get mad at him for not putting his shoes and jacket on when his excuse is he needs to hug and kiss his sisters, right? I mean, I would much rather this be the problem than the opposite:

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Yes, he drives me crazy sometimes with his suffocating love -- like when I am trying to write and he decides my arm is his favorite thing in the world and he needs to caress it, or hold it, or kiss it.

When he comes home from school until he falls asleep all I hear is, "Mommy, come sit with me. Mommy, come cuddle me. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy." We end up being joined at the hip. I ask him to wait five minutes or 20. But he has no concept of time so he asks again in 20 seconds. With this face:

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And I cannot seem to say "No." Ever.

I recognize I should set some boundaries, keep a straight face, and be a stalwart disciplinarian when the situation warrants it. But instead, I sit with him, cuddle him, talk to him, laugh with him. Until he finally does this:

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And just as quickly, I miss him and can't wait until he wakes up the next morning.