Parenting is all about little power struggles, daily victories in the constant battle between you and your child. Sometimes you win, sometimes he wins. It’s the circle of life, or something.
Sometimes, in our quest of one-upmanship against our child, we run the risk of becoming overly stubborn, stamping our superiority on our offspring, but not physically, because that’s illegal.
I find that this is most evident when undressing my child (I very rarely undress other people’s children). Trousers are fine, socks are fine. But it’s when you take their t-shirt off and it gets stuck that stubbornness comes into play.
You tug, tug again, and keep tugging. The shirt doesn’t budge. All you can see is your child’s lips and chin, the rest of his face obscured by his inside-out shirt. But you know, behind the fabric, his expression is something like this.
The logical thing to do would be to pull the shirt back down, perhaps stretch the collar a bit, maybe undo a couple of buttons if the style allows. But to do so would be to admit defeat, to concede that – in this instance – you are wrong about something. But you are Dad or Mum, and you are never wrong.
So you carry on pulling, ignoring your child’s distressed cries. They bounce off you like table tennis balls against a wall, fading into the background until in the end all you can hear are your own grunts as you pull, and keep pulling, never stop pulling.
Eventually, the shirt comes off. It has to. It’s physics. And who cares if your son’s nose is now smeared all over his forehead? It’s 1-0 to you.