A recent conversation with my child, who's still having trouble with this whole "authority" concept:
"I wanna be the Mommy AND the Daddy."
"But then what would Daddy and I be?"
"You can be a frog and a pumpkin for Halloween."
So the child and I went for a walk on one of the trails in the area, and passed a group of a couple of dozen Chinese tourists/students/both. They beat us back to the park, and Gracie took a minute to stare in fascination - she's not heard much Chinese spoken and wanted to listen. I asked her if she wanted to say hi, which she did most cheerfully, and all twenty-four of them turned around, saw her, smiled and waved.
Twenty-four pairs of eyes, trained on one three-year-old.
Total preschooler glee.
She lit up like she'd just swallowed a spotlight, flung her arms out, waved, and said "Hi! I Gracie!"
I've gotta get that kid into some drama classes...
It's no secret that I miss my mom like crazy, but given her total revulsion for all things nasal, it's at least a good thing that she missed out on the following discussion between myself and my daughter, as I was trying to explain the concept of "bad cold" to her:
"Mommy, why you talking funny?"
"Because by dose is all stuffed up."
She bent and peered STRAIGHT into the offending organ and pondered the situation for a moment. "But Mommy, why I can't pull it out for you?" Accompanied by horribly descriptive gestures...
So. I took my child to the grocery store today, along with her stuffed bear Bearbear (smart children can't name ANYthing, as I know from my own experience). About halfway through the store, she decided it would be fun to fling Bearbear across the aisle. "Gracie, don't throw your bear."
She picked him up, tiptoed across the aisle, and dropped him on the other side.
"Gracie, don't DROP your bear."
She picked him up, put him down, and punted him back across the aisle.
"Gracie. If that bear leaves your hands again, you are not seeing him again until naptime."
Silence. Approximately 30 seconds of blissful serenity follow before I HEAR her being smug and look over to see her ambling behind me, holding the bear by one ear...in her teeth.
I'm beginning to think that heavy liquor may be required to make it until kindergarten.
Gracie and I are having many, many discussions on the concept of authority, namely that I have it and she doesn't. The latest of which started when driving to a friend's house, when she declared from the back seat, "You have to do what *I* tell you!" in a tone of smug certainty.
"No, I don't. You do what I tell you, because I'm the mommy and you're the Gracie."
"Can we pretend you're the Gracie and I'm the mommy?"
...and people wonder why I'm tired all the time? Keeping a step ahead of this kid will do it.
So my darling daughter is coming up fast on her third birthday, and is apparently determined to take full advantage of the remaining few months of two-ness available to her. We've had many, many...conflicts. Most of which she retells to me a day or two later, in an utterly cheerful tone of voice. ("Remember when I hitted you and we couldn't go to the store? That was nooooooo fun.")
But. Took her to a McDonald's playground today (and it's an awesome thing; I would've killed for a playground like that when I was a kid), where she played with assorted random kids while I had lunch with friends and watched through the window. The playground has a covered spiral slide. Remember this, it's important. When it was time to leave, the kidpack was down to Gracie and one reasonably articulate small boy, who I'm guessing was an advanced five years old.
So after the standard discussion where I give her the chance to come along like a civilized human being (I figure if I outline the steps often enough, she may try following them one day), things got fraught. From Gracie there was setting of jaws and planting of feet, from me there was fast-fading rationality.
Me, maintaining Pathologically Reasonable tone: "OK, honey, one more time up the stairs and down the slide."
Gracie, making no move toward stairs or slide: "Lots and lots of times!"
*repeat x2 or 3 while things escalate toward the dread Spanking Threat*
Me, doing the "Mommy's not backing down" thing: "Out of the playground on the count of three, or I'll have to swat you. And I don't want to swat you in front of other kids."
Small boy, helpfully: "I can turn around."
Eyeroll. Gracie grasps the notion that I Mean It about going home, meekly climbs stairs and goes down the slide. When she sees me approaching with shoes and socks in hand, scowls and proceeds to try and climb back up the slide to try and get away from me. This would be more effective if she didn't keep, well, sliding. I inform her that I will carry her to the car* if she doesn't sit still for shoes and socks. More scrabbling ensues.
Small boy, earnestly: "I think you can smack her now."
I thought I was only supposed to worry about interference from adults...?
*I have done this. I have done it with her in my arms and chanting "Mommy, Mommy, you no nice, you no nice", and I have done it with her slung over my shoulder and screaming bloody murder. We won't even talk about the time I had to cart her out of the local museum in a stroller, angled parallel to the floor like a cute little Hannibal Lecter so she couldn't drag her heels.
Discussion with the child tonight, as she was busily playing a tractor when she needed to get ready for bed: "Gracie, time to read stories." "No! Tractors don't like stories and so don't Gracies."
Changing diapers this morning, and the child poked her stomach and said "What's that?"
"That's your belly button."
She giggled. "Noooo, that's a hole where the woodpecker pecked."
So Gracie thwacked her knee on the (wooden) side of her bed and was understandably distressed. I did the standard Mommy thing and kissed her knee with explanations of how kissing it would make it better. She promptly curled up into a ball and kissed her own knee.
She boogies down at the slightest provocation and was happily dancing on the porch when she proclaimed "Mommy! I can do a belly dance! Wanna SEE?" Somewhat bemused, I told her to show me. She proceeded to jump up and down in place while slapping her stomach.
Well, I suppose that counts...
So the child just got her first swat in about four months, after digging three or four times in my beading supplies bag - which, aside from fragile and/or easily unstrung beads, contains numerous poking/cutting/pinching implements. The first two times, she got explanation plus an attempt to shift her attention; the third time, she was looking directly at her father and daring him to do something about it. Hence the butt-swat.
Which was why we wound up with a Babycuda parading around the bedroom and declaiming "...and I have a bag and I push and pull in it and if Mommy wants to play with it I say NO!! and take it away 'cause it's MY bag and I carry it." At length. In detail. I gave her a short string of beads to play with, and she further salved her wounded pride by refusing to let me touch them.
Meanwhile, it's been forty-five minutes, we just put her to bed, and I distinctly heard "..and I put them in MY bag and carry around." She's got a whole dialogue going with stuffed animals asking to play with her nonexistent beads as she gleefully refuses them.
And I thought I held grudges...