In case you can’t tell from the photos, my son is NOT thirteen.

You may wonder why this is relevant.

This morning, as per usual, he was the first one up. He may have gotten up 20 minutes before me or he may have gotten up at 5am. And if you’re wondering why that’s relevant… it’s not.

The point is, he was blasting "Larry-Boy… ROCK ON Larry-Boy" and singing along cheerfully in our front room. When I came down, I greeted him and then (possibly due to the volume, possibly due to the 300 million times I’ve heard that song since yesterday morning) I committed the horrible crime of TURNING IT DOWN! Not "off" just "down". You should have SEEN the look I got. You should have FELT the palpable shunning when he didn’t respond to anything else I said, including "You ready for breakfast" which can usually trump any number of wrongs. (He’s three, but he’s still a growing boy, eating is a priority.)

Perhaps I am just hard to live with or there is something in the water turning all my children into prepubescents early. My daughter is already tiffing with me over clothes.

"Can I wear my hearts? Can I? Can I? Can I?" But that’s not the worst of it. See, we’ve waged a 3 week battle over whether or not she can sleep without her pajamas on (if she didn’t turn into an ice cube without them… she’s allergic to blanket covers too…. I’d have let her have her own way).

Here’s how it goes. I put the pajamas on, we sing our little song, read our little story, get our little drink, she curls up angelically on her pillow looking the picture of innocence. I tuck in her brother (not so angelic anymore, more like tucking in a perpetual motion machine, most nights) and go downstairs. About thirty minutes later, I hear a super-polite "Mommy, can you help me" whose volume escalates in proportion to the time elapsed since the first super-polite phrase.) When I enter her room, her pajamas are off. She wants me to put them back on.

I confess, she suckered me into it the first few nights. I’d go put her back in her pj’s after she’d gotten all her energy out screaming. She’d go to sleep. When my assistance was requested twice a night, we started disciplining for it. Not just warning and putting them on, but disciplining. My daughter’s a hard nut to crack in that arena, though, so…

Then I carefully informed her that if she took them off, I would not put them back on. She would just have to use her covers or be cold. That night a wild boar and an alley cat go at it in her room until she falls asleep, I stuffed her limp fish body into pajamas while she slept. Two nights of that, and no progress was being made AND she was waking up in the middle of the night and stripping again!

I finally followed my husband and mother’s advice (they’re both very intelligent… I should listen to them first more often) and used one of the old style diaper safety pins to pin her jamma jams on. I explained the situation to my agreeable little angel who submitted ever so docilely. Ten minutes after putting them to bed, I hear her dulcet tones descend upon me.  This time, instead of requesting help, she was screeching "I don’t LIKE it!!! I don’t LIKE it!! Take it OFF!" Three wild boars, six alley cats and a hyena later, I smiled smugly and called my mother to self-congratulate each of us. Later (after the boar and alley cat had vacated and left behind my victimized little angel who couldn’t possibly have participated in the racket since she was so hoarse) I took the video camera upstairs so I could continue gloating for years to come.

She was nearly naked. Her pajama zipper tab hadn’t contained the handy zipper-pull hole, so I had pinned UNDERNEATH the zipper. Although good old fashioned diaper safety pins don’t open easily to abuse, they do bend. In bending, she was able to unzip and escape most of the way. However, due to the still pinned pin, she couldn’t get her arms released and was stuck wearing the pajamas like a cape. My inflated sense of victory deflated just a tad. I redressed her, ran the safety pin through a miniscule hold in the zipper piece itself, and told her to go to sleep.

That time, I won.  Now if only I could win the battle of REMEMBERING to put the safety pin in before I send her to bed the first time, we’d be good to go.

Add to that, the battle I fought and lost with our infant last night over whether or not he would go to bed (He didn’t sleep and didn’t sleep and didn’t sleep until it was time for him to eat again. Foolish mommy didn’t ‘get it’ until after he screamed for twenty minutes, which is highly unusual for our angel baby.)

Maybe I’m just being impossible to live with??? =)  Heaven help me when they are 15, 14 and 12.5.