If people are creatures of habit, Wally Ben is the mother creature. I know it is a normal toddler control thing to embrace routine. But this boy gives routine a big old bear hug. He squeezes routine until routine’s eyes pop out of it’s head. He unzips routine’s skin and crawls on up inside of it.

I can tell you don’t believe me. “He is not more routine-centric than a typical preschooler,” you are thinking. “You, mommy, are just not used to the routines of children.” But I can see the line between toddler routine embracing and just plain OCD, and my controlling little mini-human steps over that line quite often. On a daily basis. On a daily basis, many times a day, on the hour.

I shall now offer 3 slices of evidence so that you may decide the verdict. I will reveal facts, and only facts. It is my firm belief that you will be with me, and that this boy errs on the side of the most controlling preschooler in the land.

Exhibit A. Every night, as I put him to bed, I finish his book and song. I walk to his door. He watches me with great concentration. When my hand hits the door handle and not a moment sooner, he says, “What are we going to do after naps?” (He still calls every bedtime naps. For some reason, the concept of a day is one of the hardest things to break into his sense of logic. Either that, or his love of routine keeps him calling it naps, even though he knows “after naps” is “tomorrow.”) I let him know what we are doing the next day, and he is satisfied enough for me to close the door.

Exhibit B. Precisely 2 minutes into dinner-time, my controlling boy wonder is given his vitamins, which are Cars shaped. He gets 2. He lifts them up, facing each other, and says, “What’s your name, my name is Lightening McQueen. What’s your name, my name is Sally, bye-bye.” Then, and not a moment sooner, he pops them into his mouth. Every day, the same conversation between the vitamins. Every day, they meet their sad demise after only the briefest of introductions.

Exhibit C. Stick with me for this one. Around 2 years ago, a driver fell asleep at the wheel and drove straight into the door at W4’s office. We happened to stop by the office that day, and so Wally saw the destruction. He said, “What happened to Daddy’s work door?” And so we told him what happened. From that day forth, every time we drove by the office, WV has proceeded to ask, “What happened to Daddy’s work door?” Bear in mind that we lived within a few blocks of that building for a long time. It has been repaired for ages. And still, the child persists, looking for the answer to the question that he already knows. And he will ask, over and over, until we repeat the correct answer. I swear, he works for the insurance agency and is looking for us to slip on what happened in this certainly bizarre explanation so that he doesn’t have to fill the claim.

He has been this way since he was a baby, by the way. Before he could speak—at only 9 months old—if the microwave was on “Enter Time” rather than displaying the clock, he would point at it, saying, “Uh oh!” until we fixed it.

Perhaps I should use this to my advantage? Work into his little routines coffee-making in the morning, taking out the trash, or even just simple compliments thrown in mommy’s direction? Seriously, though, it helps to know this about him, since I can use it to tame his high-energy attitude a bit. Ever since he dropped his nap, for Vivvi’s nap time he was driving me crazy—bugging me, getting antsy, skipping short on quiet time. But I had a great designer I know (ehem, W4) create a quiet time chart (pictured below), and nap time has become sane again. He moves a magnet from step to step during her nap (on his own, without us reminding him to) for various activities. He stays out of my hair. And he is nicer for it.

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I assume most of this aspect of his personality is just the toddler need for control. But also, God help his future wife. Hopefully she will be a good chart maker, and good at retelling the story of the man who fell asleep and ran into the work door.

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