Jellybean is currently experimenting with pushing all his boundaries, being cheeky, answering back and being boldly disobedient.
We manage large chunks of day where he forgets this mission but then he remembers and does something, as my Grandmother would have said, utterly beyond the pale. (I have no idea what that means, really, but she said it about my behaviour on an almost daily basis and I see her point!)
I try to stay patient with him and talk to him about what he's done and why it's bad, and to get him to think about things. We strike deals on how he can make up for naughtiness or avoid it altogether.
I will read you five stories after dinner if you stay in your chair and don't make a big mess. Deal?
I will give you a biscuit with your juice if you tidy all these cars back into their box. Deal?
If you can be very good all morning we will go to the playground after lunch.. Deal?
If you are quiet and help me with the shopping all the way around tesco you can pick a new magazine. Deal?
The secret from my end is that I was planning to do those things anyway so it isn't real bribery. I get to do the day I planned and he gets to think he made the decisions and we're all happy and he's not getting told off.
We also had a chat recently (after reading Ben Wakeling's blog post on'Goodbye pert breasts' about the same topic) about Santa watching to see who is naughty and who is nice. A lot of questions were asked about how Santa watches, and how naughty you can be before you get no presents., and what would happen if Santa brought presents for everyone else and not him.
Half an hour after the big naughty or nice Santa talk, Jellybean left the room to go to the loo.
He likes to do this independently and will just shout if he has a number two for some help wiping his bottom. Then he'll saunter back through with a bare bum and need reminding to put his pants and trousers back on.
Today, though, he was gone a pretty long time and I began to suspect he was up to no good. One of the big tellings off recently was about putting alien objects into the loo, then putting the plug in the sink and leaving the taps on.
I was relieved to hear that the taps weren't on as I approached - but then looked through the open door to see him standing with a sopping wet toilet roll in his hand, covered in poo from where he'd dropped it in on top of his business, with poo all over his hand an t shirt from trying to wipe it off, and all over the toilet and wall beside it. He was also clutching a bar of very dirty soap.
"oh hello Mummy. I will just finish cleaning this up, and then you will give me a nice hot bath. And we just won't tell Santa about this...deal?"