We have a three year old and he's a walking shit test right now. And I mean this literally, because we're deep in the trenches of potty training. So of course I'm meeting resistance at every step of the way. Between just me and him, I can handle it just fine. He's a three year old, his #1 goal in life is to test me right now. But he knows when mommy is within earshot, and especially when we're under time pressure to get everyone out the door in the morning, all he has to do is scream and scream until he gets under her skin.
We all know the only way to win that game is not to play it, sometimes you just need to isolate them and let them scream until they understand that acting out won't get them what they want. But wifey doesn't have the fortitude for that, and he still gets under her skin so easily. Next thing you know she's making comments over my shoulder. She'll find something, anything to nitpick on. Usually it's "we don't have time for this." Which is true....but anyone with little kids knows that they're masters at figuring out when they have you between a rock and a hard place, and that's when they test you the hardest.
Today it was that I shouldn't be putting him in time out with no pants on, because he'll have an accident. Obviously we all know I can't let his lack of pants be a free pass to act out, and maintaining authority over a three year old is more important in the grand scheme of things than a little piss on the floor and being a few minutes late to work. Obviously even the slightest hint of a comment on her part while I'm disciplining him is undermining me and completely unacceptable, even the bluest of blue pills will agree with that. But no matter what I do, it feels like in order to pass one shit test I have to fail the other.
If I ignore her she'll keep commenting, and as long as she's present, he'll keep screaming mommy and it'll never end. I've tried just ignoring her no matter what and she just keeps increasing her presence in the situation, to the point where she starts physically pushing in and taking over.
If I tell her to cut it out, she devolves into a toddler herself and starts pushing it more and more. Even if that did work (it never does), on some level I'm still losing because I'm undermining her authority and he pushes it even harder with her, perpetuating the issue. (And when I see him pushing her, I'm stuck between the rock of letting him run the show in my presence and the hard place of undermining her, but I digress.)
Walk away and ignore her bullshit would is usually an acceptable response to a typically shit test, but in this case if I just walk away, I've failed his shit test. I've basically shown my child that he doesn't have to listen to daddy and that mommy is the ultimate power in the house, because she nagged and daddy listened.
The closest thing I've found to a solution here is to physically bring my wife into another room to remove her from the situation and try and snap her out of it. When things are calm later she will admit that she knows she shouldn't be doing it, but in the moment she needs a time out too. But since I have to physically remove her it's walking a fine line and still feels like an fail in front of the kid.
Unless I'm missing something, I don't have any 100% good options, only a choice between less bad options.
What would you do?