Am I the only one here who’s sick unto death of managing myself like some balky damn toddler?
When you have a toddler in the house every single moment of your life is consumed with managing the toddler. They are ingenious, … and they can walk. In fact, when on one of their laser guided missions toward trouble they can walk a hell of a lot faster than the average sleep deprived parent of a toddler. There’s nothing trickier than keeping a toddler out of trouble. Except maybe getting one to do something that they’ve decided they don’t want to do.
Having a puppy is kind of like having a toddler. I recently had a puppy in my life. My normally pretty calm, grown ups only house was a maze of gates, barriers, crates, and playpens; and a mine field of chew toys, bouncy balls, and squeaky things. Not to mention the 42 pounds of 4 month old Bouvier. And one, very damn grumpy, old Miniature Schnauzer.
The puppy I managed pretty well. Like the clown in the bull ring said: Not my first rodeo. I know where to put the gates, when to take Monkey-Socks with Extra Teeth out for potty breaks and not to leave any shoes below waist level. No, my problem is the other toddler. The balky, sullen, overgrown toddler that is me. Yeah, there’s more than one black dog in the house. There’s the pup that’s sits under my chair while I’m typing and there’s Mr. Churchill’s dog, who’s once again taken up residence in my brain. The damned thing turns me into the worst kind of toddler. Not the tiara wearing pageant brat that somehow seems to have made it onto TV. Nope, this is the snot nosed, snuffling, arms slack at her sides lump of clay that Won’t.
I cannot get the little shit moving. There is no promise, no wheedle, no cajole, no threat, no mind game that can budge her. She’s too damned smart. Just sits there and looks back at me with a knowing glower.
There are tricks, a thousand tricks. And we’ve all heard them. From well-meaning friends, from the self-help books, from our therapists. Yeah, I’ve got a therapist. She and I go way back.
Have you been through this? The therapy where they teach you to “manage” yourself? Make lists, schedule things, set priorities. Build up a routine, get up and do something, any thing, it doesn’t matter. Exercise is key. Set a timer and do just five minutes of something. Make a list. Don’t allow yourself to engage in repetitive activity. Don’t turn on the computer (yeah, right, I’m a writer. WTF — I’m supposed to copy this shit out in crayon and send it out to you all by balloon?) Take a walk, Think happy thoughts, Call a friend. Breathe. Go to yoga class.
Ah, go to hell. If I could get the kid to do any of those things with any sort of ease I wouldn’t be in this mess.
I try talking sense.
Take a walk — you’ll feel better.
Go to the gym — you’ll feel better.
Call a friend — you’ll feel better.
Take a shower — you’ll feel better.
Write something — you’ll feel better.
I try bargaining.
Set a timer for 5 minutes and clean the counter. I’ll give you this cookie. She swipes the damned cookie right out of my hand. Hey, she’s bigger than me.
Sort your inbox, just to be sure that there’s nothing in there that can hurt you. You can play Bejeweled afterwards.
Just empty the dishwasher. You don’t have to load it.
Write the draft of a blog post. Maybe it’ll be funny. You can have a nap when you’re done.
Make the three phone calls. You can ignore the email messages today.
I make threats:
Sort the mail — or something won’t get paid.
Clean the fridge — or something will rot.
Take out the trash — or something will smell.
Read those emails — or someone will be angry.
Get off your ass — or something bad will happen.
I try blackmail.
Well, okay, blackmail doesn’t work because blackmail depends on someone caring and the battle cry of the toddler is Don’t Care!
The problem is that the toddler is savvy. The toddler has been around the block a few times. The toddler is on to me.
Best story ever…
Microsoft, like most big, modern companies offers their employees a host of training opportunities. Things like Project Management Theory and Software Coding Security Standards and the ever popular Building Effective Teams which includes assessing team roles and personalities, setting and meeting team goals, helping your employees to manage conflict, and all that crap.
One guy took it all a little too far. He took his skill set home with him and when faced with a domestic crisis forgot that he was sitting at the dinner table not a conference table and that the person over there was his wife not a team member.
When she determined that her concerns were being met with conflict de-escalation and team goal alignment strategies rather than proper spousal attentiveness she blurted: “Don’t you dare manage me.”
That’s my toddler, all over. “Don’t you dare.”
Believe me, I’d rather not have to.
Dang toddler, and she appears to be a smart one. Your needs go way beyond my ability to help so I’ll just send you best wishes. Keep us posted on the battles and maybe one day you’ll win the war.