As a child I remember gaming the system. The system varied from sneaking into a swimming pool to getting out of chores, but I was a sneaky young man. 3YO Mojo gamed our system for a couple of days, until we got wise to it.
It’s kind of like that scene in Jurassic Park where they realize that the dinosaurs are testing the fences.
Children are like that, testing mom and dad to see what they can get away with. Thankfully for our little Jurassic Park resident, the fences have been electrified and all little dinosaurs are back on the program.
3YO Mojo is really great with potty training. He still wears a diaper overnight, but during the day he comes and goes from the bathroom like a pro. The only assistance he needs is pulling up his underwear, pants and buttoning them.
The assistance was much more during the week when I cared for him. He would come from the bathroom, beaming like a lighthouse over the fact that he went poopy in the potty. I would tell him to pull his pants up; he would try, get frustrated and then lay on the floor crying. He really needs the help, I thought to myself as I pulled him off the floor and got him dressed.
Unbeknownst to me, on the weekends when Mommy Mojo takes primary care of 3YO Mojo; he was pulling up his underwear and pants with ease. He still needed help buttoning his pants, but there was no half naked, crying child doing a whirling dervish on the floor.
My wife and I were talking one day. We don’t have weekly meetings about what the kids are able to do; but she mentioned that 3YO Mojo was doing great with the bathroom. I countered her statement, told her what I experience during the week and we realized that our son had been gaming the system or testing the fences.
The next Monday his first couple trips to the potty were packed with emotional outbursts when I wouldn’t pull up his pants. That afternoon he realized that he was a big boy and could indeed pull up his pants all by himself.
After sharing this with a couple of other parents we’ve learned that children feign the inability to do certain things. It’s usually at school where they are able to do it and then acting helpless once they get home.
We know that we’ll have tons of future instances where one of them will test the fences. For right now I’m thankful that my wife and I communicate lots so that we nipped this one in the bud.