My itsy-bitsy baby Annelie (who is three and a half) never fails to shock me. Being the baby of the family, I find - and am ashamed to admit - that I treat her like one. So, when she does something only a big kid can do, it always comes as a surprise. My little baby can write out the letters of the alphabet? How it that possible? My little baby just rolled her eyes and gave me a smart aleck remark? No way. She's just a baby.
But she's not a baby as it turns out. She's a little girl and she's figuring life out and MAN if it isn't biting me in the butt.
Annelie's latest trick - laughing in the face of reverse psychology. Its not fair, really. Mom's are supposed to use reverse psychology on little kids. Its in the handbook. How do you get them to do what you want them to do when they are being obstinate? You challenge them with the opposite.
Well. Huh. Last night, Gracie and I were watching a movie that Annelie didn't feel like watching. So naturally, after discovering all the attention was not on her, Annelie decided to do whatever she could to get that attention back. She sang and danced in front of the TV. She pulled out an obnoxious toy High School Musical singing microphone and waved it under our noses until Gracie and I were both ready to throttle her. As it was almost bedtime, I did the one thing I figured would distract her (and um.. I'm about to reveal my incompetence as a mother as I admit this, I'm sure. Hey, no judging).
"Annelie," I called out. "Why don't you go and grab your bedtime diaper and show me how you can put it on all by yourself."
(Um. Yeah. My kid puts on her own diaper. Yes, I should take that as a sign that she's ready for underpants at bedtime, but... I did say I was revealing my incompetence as a mother, so there you go)
"I don't wanna," she said back.
"Oh now, come on. You always put on your diaper. Go get one and show me you can do it."
"No!" she shouted.
- Enter moment of reverse psychology -
"Oh. I bet you can't do it, can you. Its too hard."
Annelie, considered my words for a moment. "I can do it. I'll go show you," she finally said. Then she ran off and grabbed her diaper. Hurray. Success. She was distracted enough for me and Gracie to go back to our movie. A minute later Annelie was diapered and standing in front of me, hands on her hips.
- Enter moment when reverse psychology bites me in the butt -
"See, I told you I could put on my diaper," Annelie said. Her eye narrowed and she walked over to me, sticking her face directly into mine. She jabbed a finger sharply at my chest. "Mommy, YOU were WRONG."
My eyes widened. "What?"
"You said I couldn't do it, but you were wrong." Her hands were back on her hips at this point and my mouth had dropped to my chin. "I put my diaper on all by myself and you didn't think I could."
So. Huh. As it turns out, on this particular kid, using reverse psychology only makes me look completely incapable as an adult figure, and an unsupportive mother at that. And my three year old is officially smarter than I am.
What did I learn from this little moment in our lives? That I need to give my kid a little more credit than I do. She's smart. She thinks about things. And on top of that - after last night, Annelie has figured out how to use reverse psychology on ME.
This morning, after I watched her throw up a balloon and catch it for about five minutes, I went back to my computer and email checking/Facebook status updating.
"Hey, lookit me, lookit me!" she called out for a few minutes. I wasn't paying attention to her. I had, after all, already spent a good five minutes watching her. But then she stopped. The wheels were clearly turning in her head.
"Mommy, don't lookit me," she said half a second later.
Of course I looked up.
Man. Mothering this kid is going to be a wild ride.