I´ve been having issues with the four-year-old.
He refuses to wipe his butt. He thinks I am always happy to do it for him. We have gotten into power struggles over this. Sometimes I give in. Sometimes we get into yelling and screaming matches over this. Sometimes I realize that he´s four, and sometimes it is hard for him to wipe his butt. Sometimes I let him know that the butt-wiping free ride ends when he turns five.
The other day, he told me, "when I´m ninety, I´ll wipe my own butt."
I was relieved to know that he had some date in mind to take responsibility for his own excrement. (Never mind that I won´t be alive to see it.)
Then I clued him in on the ways of the world. "Actually, when you´re ninety, you might not be wiping your own butt anymore."
Then genius struck.
"Hey Joe--do you know who´s going to wipe MY butt when I´m ninety?"
All of a sudden, I don´t mind wiping his butt anymore.
And he´s in full agreement that he´ll be returning the favor.
It never fails to astonish me how much it helps to step back and look at the larger picture.