October 4th, 2010

I’ve Been Outsmarted

Becca Sanders

“Mama, I wanna time out!” I turned to look at my two-year old daughter, whose dinner was scattered over, under, and about the table. She looked back at me defiantly. “Made a mess,” she said, gesturing toward her overturned plate. “Wanna time out,” she reiterated.

“You…you can’t have a time out,” I spluttered, “because it’s…it’s MY job to say when you get to have a time out – you don’t get to ask for one. So no time-out for you! But you…you need to go wash your hands.”

As I watched her toddle toward the sink, I thoughtfully considered what had just happened, and concluded, “WTH?” The spilled food, the trumping of the time-honored time-out with the bold request for punishment, my dithering, nonsensical response: all orchestrated by a barely thigh-high child who thinks the bend in her arm is called the “hippo.”

At no other time is it so obvious that I am winging my way through parenthood than in such scenes with little F., whose impertinence will surely shade into insolence and thence into superciliousness if I don’t get a handle on how to deal with her. (That’s what I get for being an English major! She’s going to hit every two-bit adjective in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

She’s a firecracker and I kind of dig it. I like that she’s trying to run circles around me; the key is to not let her succeed, or let her see my smile of you-go-girl approval as I turn away from yet another pint-sized drama. Unfortunately, I have no experience with this kind of thing. None at all. I am 44 years old, and my two-year old bests me at every turn.

If only I could bottle this moxie of hers, siphon off a little of the excess (full-blown, face-plant tantrums at the merest, whispered no) and stash some away for those years when my formerly-spunky girl might turn self-conscious and doubt herself (as I did)! At the first sign of wavering (circa age 12), I could uncork a bottle and say, “Honey, drink up!”

Or maybe I should take a slug out of that bottle myself – get my feist on.

I have a feeling I’ll need it.

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)