Article and Photos by Carrie Bentley
Mom is no longer the ultimate authority in our house. As a new mom, I used logic to convince my kids to do what I wanted them to do. This usually resulted in long circular arguments about things like why we need to wear pants in stores. Now as a more experienced mom, I have begun using the old standby, “Because I said so!” This worked for a while, but my three-year-old saw right through it. He, as it turns out, can also respond with “so,” and it makes no sense to him that Mom’s “so” counts more than his.
Recently, he started playing Mom’s word against Dad’s. I would tell him to get ready for bed, and he would claim that Dad said he could stay up all night and play cars if he wanted. Dad would tell him to eat his vitamins, and he would declare that Mom said he is too healthy already. But he soon found out that Mom and Dad are a united front, and we can just ask each other what has been decreed. One win for the parents.
Then my son realized something that tipped the scales in his favor. The dentist doesn’t live in our house, but we still listen to what he says. We often brush our teeth—because the dentist said so. Soon, our little boy was responding to us with, “The dentist said I didn’t have to do that.” Time to eat dinner? The dentist said he could keep playing. Time to put away the iPad? The dentist said he could have more screen time. Time to put away the Easter candy? The dentist said he could eat all the candy he wants.
One day I heard a big splash when he was in the bathtub, followed by some other commotion. It turns out the dentist told him he should pull the cat into the full bathtub with him to play.
The cat actually likes being in the tub. He often jumps in on his own, because he loves his boy, and he loves water. But if he gets pushed or pulled into the tub, his tail gets wet. The cat hates having a wet tail, so he jumps out and spins in circles until his tail is sufficiently dry, which makes a cat-height ring of wetness around the entire bathroom. The wet cat chasing his wet tail with water flying everywhere is really fun to watch—if you are three years old.
And it’s no problem. The dentist said that Mom would really love to clean up the mess.
Carrie Bentley grew up in Bismarck, graduated from the University of Jamestown, and is a stay-at-home mom. She enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and quiet evenings after the kids go to bed. Carrie lives with her husband and three sons in Bottineau.