There have been studies that say given the choice between cleaning the house and taking care of small children, most people would choose to clean the house. This has nothing to do with the fact that people love their children immensely, rather it has to do with how incredibly frustrating and irritating children can be. There, I said it. (This is, of course, not news to any parent.)
New clothes came in the mail today, and for once, I had ordered Tiny Pants his own brand-spanking-new shirts, instead of relegating him to wearing his brother's hand-me downs. Tiny Pants decided he wanted to wear four shirts to school today, at the same time, both under and over a pair of overalls he can barely manage to undo to go to the bathroom without help. I thought it was a bad plan. He thought it was brilliant and the pinnacle of fashion.
Trying to convince a four year old that they are wrong and can't do what they want is like teaching a pig to sing; it irritates the teacher and frustrates the pig. There were tears. There were glowering stares. There was an unspoken threat on a looming tantrum, and that was just me.
Four year olds brains don't reason in the way adult brains do. I tried logic. Nothing doing. Eventually I got him down to two shirts underneath the overalls and one on top. Now, all you people without kids are thinking, "Just put your foot down!" These people have not learned that you will never win a battle of wills with a four year old. Ever.
I waited him out, and planted the seed that he might, just maybe, get paint on his new hoodie at school. Right before it was time to go, he took off shirt #3 of his own volition.
What did I get out of the experience? A sense of satisfaction that I eventually won? No. Pride that he made the preferred decision on his own? Nope. I got something more valuable than all of that. Birth control. Spend an hour or two with a persnickety four year old, and your uterus just may jump out of your body and run down the street.