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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting Out of Trouble

As my children get a better grasp on conversation, emotion and dare I say logic, they are starting to dictate our movements more and more, wriggling out of tough situations, testing avenues and words to see what will let them do the most damage and get in the least amount of trouble.

Here are a few of their favorites:

They'll do something they're not supposed to do, and I'll tell them not to do that.

Response: "No, I just" (insert bland, non-troublesome activity here, that happens to also be taking place due to their actions.)

Example: "Stop stepping on my computer."

"No, I just reaching the chair."

Now, that's true, but it doesn't change the fact that in order to reach the chair they need to step on my computer.

This is amazing, developmentally. It shows a leap of understanding emphasis and distraction. Good job, kids. Now, get off my computer.


They'll start throwing a tantrum (normally because they've said something and have deemed my response incorrect, which is a no-win situation for me.) They'll flop around until I start my count-down, which means time out is near.

Response: "HUG! MAMA HUG!"

Yes, they scream-cry hug at me, as if all they were after in the first place was a little affection from me, and how could I be so cruel as to withhold my love from them? Had I just been reasonable about giving them a hug to begin with, they never would have gotten so upset.

Except their tantrum had nothing to do with wanting a hug from me. They pulled a bait and switch.

And this is particularly genius because not only are they doing the emphasis and distraction thing mentioned above, but what parent isn't going to go hug a clearly distressed child asking for love? You win this time, babies. On the plus side, at least the tantrum stops after that.


This is my least favorite. They will do something totally atrocious. Pull their hair, or throw a book at me, or something completely unacceptable. I'll speak very sternly to them, deepening my voice (and I have a deep voice to begin with) and look pointedly at them.

Response: They'll turn around and ask me, just as I'm most annoyed, "You nice, mama? You nice?"

No! I'm not nice! Grrrr.

But you can't do that (often.) So, usually I sigh, defeated, and say softly (or loudly, depending on how annoyed I really am), "Yes, I am nice, but you are not being nice right now." And I go on to explain what I was trying to explain before.

And they smile and nod and plan when they're going to throw their next book.

Three year olds. They're so smart. And so three years old.

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