Living with Napoleon

April 25, 2006

I need help. For at least a week, I have been reluctantly coming home from school because of the uncertainty of what awaits me. No, I am not in an abusive domestic situation. Actually, my abuser is much younger: I have a two-year-old.

I am not sure if it is Ari’s age, the move into a new house or Markos’s long absences or maybe all or some of these factors. But my Ari has quickly transformed from an angel to Napoleon Bonaparte.

He has refused to abide by any of his routine. “N-a-p” time and bedtime are big power struggles for he won’t go down without at least an hour of screaming at the top of his lungs and big fat tears rolling down his cheeks. It’s a drag to lure him into the bathtub or change his diaper and clothes. He simply gives me a vehement “No!” and runs away, or screams and kicks me as I pin him down to change his diaper. I feel like I belong on “Nanny 911.”

Yesterday he didn’t nap at all. Last night around bedtime (8:30 p.m.) I rocked him like a baby, sang to him, let him watch TV, read books to him, he cried, I fumed off to take a bath and left him alone in his room — he finally went down at 10 p.m.. This morning he refused to let me dress him. So I took an entirely different approach:

My mom, grandma and great aunt are, fortunately, staying with me right now. I called our nanny and Amy to let them know that Mr. Ari would not join Jude (Amy’s son) for their normal play date. He’d stay with his grandma. I got dressed and made it a point to leave. Ari cried and tried to make an escape in his pajamas.

“But you wouldn’t let Mami dress you! Now Mami has to go. Maybe tomorrow you will listen to her.” With every ounce of will, I left and never checked back.

We’ll see if it worked. I’ll let you know tomorrow. In the meantime, I am attempting to coax my very adorable Napoleon to take his nap.