I remember being part of the "Married With No Child" club and being amazed at how long it took my "Married With Child" friends to get anywhere. They would bring their kids over, we'd let them run around the house for hours at a time, and as we were turning off the lights to go to bed we'd see them out there still trying to load eveything back into the car after spending a half hour in our driveway.
I thought the reasons behind this had to do with the amount of baggage that constantly swirls around a kid like the moons of some chaotic planet. Now that I have a two year-old I understand that it's got more to do with a power struggle taking place than a simple inventory check. Fred has decided that Mommy/Daddy's way is not always the only way to do things. Suddenly the phrase "I Help!" though it may flow from the tongue in a mere micro-second, can lead to tens of minutes staring into a dark closet searching for that elusive shirt of choice.
That shirt doesn't have Blue's Clues on it, this shirt isn't green, that's shirt just isn't up to his standards, that one doesn't appeal to what his sense of Casual Friday's should consist of. Everything is a multiple choice question and more times than not the correct answer is D) NONE OF THE ABOVE. And while letting them make their own decisions is inevitable and good for them, it does get very frustrating trying to find out where the thin line between "Let me make up my own mind" and "Just do what I say so we can move on to the next thing" is located.
I admit that the constant ticking sound in my head reminding me that my day is often timed down to the second, gets so loud at times that I forget that the life of toddler is more "This is what I'm doing now" and less "Look at all I've got to do today". In my defense telling my boss that I'm late for the second time this week because I suddenly found myself in a twenty minute debate over whether or not wearing your pajamas to school even if it means taking them off, getting a bath, and then putting them back on isn't something that I wish to share though simply blaming it on traffic only results in his retort "Should have left sooner"
As much as it pains me (and my schedule) to admit it though maybe turning over some amount of control is a good thing. Deciding what you want can be difficult at times even at the age of 32. So maybe by letting him make his own choices while still maintaining a certain level of control, Lucy and I are actually preparing him for a future of in which the correct answers aren't always A,B, or C. Sure to some it may seem like we are spoiling the child and sparing the rod, but then again when it comes time to make the hard choices in life he potentially could be more prepared to make the correct choice due to years of practice all leading back to that day in August of 2008 when he was allowed to pick out the T-shirt of the day.