I have historically (history being one year) let Bub pretty much walk all over me. Sometimes literally.
I put up with a lot of malfeasance, always chalking it up to that whole ‘lack of knowledge of the world’ thing.
He’s a terrible eater. My personal habits are by no means a paragon of dining etiquette, but this kid makes me look good. When he doesn’t particularly care for the entree du jour, he flips his plate over with a bored sigh. If he’s really into it, he goes into this sweeping motion with both hands, thusly clearing said content onto the floor en masse. Let's see you do that at a restaurant, & watch how far you get, Bub.
He throws food on the floor with smug looks, I pick it up. If it’s dry (bread-like activity), he can have it back. If it’s banana-esque, depending on current tile conditions and personal hunger level, I usually eat it. I bet he takes some baby schadenfreude out of that. But waste not, want not, I always say. And we no longer have an ant problem.
Sometimes he spits food in my face. This usually makes me laugh; not the best deterrent, to be sure. In a bold act of defiance, I once tried spitting food back in his face, but that backfired big time. He thought it was hilarious, spat back at me four-fold, and I couldn’t really say squat. Plus I had to clean pureed zucchini out of his hair.
He smacks me in the face. Sometimes I bleed, other times just bruise. One time he got me in the cornea; I wore an eyepatch for a week, adopted the moniker Baldbeard, made idle threats of crawling the smallest plank you’ll ever see, meeting Davy Jones’ locker, whatever that is. It’s an expression of love I tell myself. I fell down the steps again, Itell my friends. Okay, you’re right, we don’t have any steps. But luckily I also don’t have any friends, so, you know, clean conscience and all.
Sometimes he clubs me with things. Anything, really. Spatula, CD case, whatever is in reach. Wooden blocks hurt; I can confirm that rumor. Music class has taught him to bang on things. What he lacks in rhythm, he makes up for in vicious repetition. He’s got a toy hammer, and it’s no fun to be the nail, let me assure you.
But times they are a-changing, Bully Bub. I’ve started fighting back, standing my ground. And it appears to be working. He no longer flips his plates over. Rarely does he drop food on the floor, spit food or steal my lunch money. I credit all this to a stern tone, simple inflection, lots of bass.
He knows his name now, and I know how to use it threateningly. Darth Daddy. ‘Bub, I am your father.’ That’s actually true, so that helps my credibility.
It started with him playfully entreating the broiler to a game of hide and seek. With cold weather coming, we have already started the Radiatior Diversion Campaign. So far it’s going well. He does actually hear us. He doesn’t always listen, is still insanely determined to actually get his entire bodily unit inside the toilet bowl. But he’s hearing us, and that’s a start.
And like Sonny said in A Bronx Tale: ‘I’d rather be feared than loved.’ Okay, maybe not. It’s a tough call. A toss-up, really, game-time decision. I haven’t even resorted to his middle name yet; I’m saving that for a real doozy. That should blow his devious little mind.