I know I've said this before, but this time of year, it's me and Braeden at home.
Braeden and me.
He hears my voice laughing, singing ("No, Mummy. No singing!"), adoring him and, you know, telling him what to do.
He hears my voice a lot.
Over and over.
Luckily, I've been doing impressions of other people and creating new voices from my own since I was a child. You can ask my family... they were not always entertained, though.
Have you ever noticed that you can ask someone to do something a dozen times, and they refuse, but if somebody else asks, the person just does it?
This has been our struggle.
Until I bring in "other people."
First I created "The Officer."
I realized that Brady would often answer more to men, so I had to figure out how to be more, um, manly. And authoritative.
One pair of mirrored aviators on my face makes him look at his reflection and covers my eyes. A masculine tone mixed with a slight southern accent demands compliance.
The officer appears when Mom can no longer get a positive reaction out of a small boy.
"Excuse me, Sir?" the officer will say as he saunters toward Brady P. "Do you know what time it is?"
"Yes, Officer, it's bed time," he'll reply coyly.
"That's right, Sir. Bed time. What do you do first to get ready for bed?"
"Pee on the potty."
"That's correct. Do you need me to carry you in there, or can you walk by yourself?"
"I walk by myself," the little boy says and slides off his comfy chair to walk into the bathroom.
The officer doesn't have to come out for long. Once Brady P gets a move on, things go smoothly.
But that's been going on for almost a year now, and the officer doesn't always work. Especially in the morning.
Luckily, I got little man the Guess Who? game for Christmas last year. You know, the one with all the people's faces and names, and you have to guess who the other player has by asking yes or no questions and elimination options with each turn? It's pretty fun.
He wasn't so good at it right away, but we have come to really enjoy playing it when the power goes out. We shine our flashlights on the people, so we can truly see if they have a mustache or earrings.
Sometimes we have a successful round, but sometimes not. It's all okay. Just a learning process.
I noticed that he would keep the cards out after each game. The cards have each person's portrait and name. He read them with me relentlessly until he learned all 24 of them.
Not long after, he would keep a few of them out in pairs. Mike and Mia. Al and Joe.
I was a bit confused as to why he picked those particular people, but then I realized that those are characters' names from some of his favorite videos. Although the faces do not resemble the characters, he pairs up the names and personifies them.
So I have used this to my advantage. I can now bring out those pairs of people and have them talk to each other and him in order to get him to get ready for school in the morning if we hit a snafu.
Suddenly, he is part of a conversation with two other people, and I am not involved directly.
That is my mind blowing up.
So when times get hard, it is no longer just him and me. Me and him. We have other friends to help move things along and impart different perspectives.
What a relief!
Too bad they can't babysit...