We set out for a walk on a gorgeous spring day. My three-year-old thinks he knows which way to go. And he's very vocal about it.
“No, dat way! Not dis way! Dat way!” He points, the tip of his index finger curling upward with insistence.
“Turn left! I don't wanna go dat way!”
But I know the way to go. I know our destination, and I know the best route that will take us there.
Sometimes it is the destination he desires, and as we walk, he asks for reassurance more times than I have the patience to give gently. “YES! We're going to the park!” I bark out, equal parts exasperated with him and disgusted with my harshness. “YES, we're going to walk beside the water!”
He thinks he knows how to get there, and often he does—which means he becomes quite agitated when I turn the “wrong” way. What he doesn't realize is that taking this alternate route will take us past some of the best spring colors in the neighborhood. The way he prefers is the familiar, comfortable way, but I have new and different in mind; I want to see beauty.
Other times he's flat out wrong when he's desperately wanting me to turn right, not realizing that we'll only get there if we continue straight. We can't turn like he wants to. We have to continue straight, or we won't get there at all.
And then there are times when the place I've chosen is not where he wants to end up. “We're not going home!” he declares (a common statement in this phase when he seems to believe that saying a thing will make it so).
He should be grateful that he gets to go for a walk at all. He should trust me. He should know that I have more years of knowledge and experience than he has, that I walked miles and miles up and down these streets before he was even born. He should sit quietly and let me navigate. He should believe that I am deciding where we will go because I, not he, know what is best.
Instead he argues—and I am annoyed because he is me.