April 01, 2006

Name Calling

Sass has been a bit on the touchy side lately. I'm not sure if it's being three, if it's because she's been sick, or if it has something to do with her sister moving up in the world (and into Sass's personal space.) Whatever the cause, she's been experimenting with expressing herself -- often in less than pleasant ways.

Sometimes, she'll talk to me through clenched teeth. "No. Never." She'll say.

"I don't like how you're talking to me," I'll answer back.

Sometimes she'll draw a line in the sand. "I'm not going to eat that. Not one bite."

"That's fine," I'll say, "When your belly is full, you can leave the table."

In the mornings, she'll whiiiinnne. "Get me my milk. Get me toast. I want juuuiiiicceee RIGHT NOW!"

"Please use your words and your regular voice," I say in my happiest mommy voice. Or sometimes I use my fed-up-and-wish-I'd-gone-to-bed-earlier voice and say, "That's enough," with an unspoken warning. Usually then, her chin hits her chest.

We stand toe to toe 20 times a day, my 3 year old and I. She's trying to find her place in this family, and I'm trying to let her. At the same time, I need to teach her about respect and how to deal with conflict in a positive way.

Today, as I puttered around trying to get us ready to go out, she avoided me for a good half hour. She had a wild mane of hair and no pants, and I was pretty sure Tar*get had a policy about that. She called down to me from upstairs, where she'd been "hiding."

"Mommy, I need you to get my flashlight off that shelf!"


"I'll get your flashlight as soon as you come down and get ready."

"NOOooooooo! I need it right now."

"Sure honey! Just come get your pants on and your hair brushed and it's all yours!"

"MOMMY! NO! I want it now."

"I hear you -- you want it now. I want you to get ready first. Then we'll get it together."

She stomped around upstairs, mulling over this turn of events. I could hear her talking to herself.

Sass leads a pretty sheltered life. I try (ahem) to limit her TV time, and even then she usually only gets to watch Noggin or Playhouse Disney. She goes to preschool one day a week, but parents are required to attend. M. and I try not to fight in front of the girls and--though we do occasionally hurl heavy silences at each other-- there is no name calling in our house. So when it comes to trying to call someone a name or be really really mean, she just doesn't have a good model. Plus, her inborn sense of sticking to the rules probably wouldn't let her if she did.

In any case, she was mad. She was hopping mad. She was fed up to here with my pleasant voice and unbending desire for her to conform to the house rules. She shouted at me in her meanest voice from the top of the stairs,

"Mommy!! Mommy!! You are a....."

I paused. Was she going to call me a name? Would she really cross that line?

"Mommy??????" She sounded really mad now.

"You look like...."



The worst she could do...point out the obvious. That's my girl!


Blogger Moxie said...

Bwahahahahahahaha! I am dying.

I curse like crazy, and we live in New York City, so my son knows from bad words. But still, his biggest insult is "You can't live here anymore!' or "I'm not going to be your son anymore!" I just think this is such an innocent age. Poor independence-wanting little things.

April 01, 2006 8:22 PM  
Blogger Her Grace said...

It's funny, I find myself swearing under my breath all the time, and she hasn't picked it up yet.

I get things like, "You didn't say that," and "You can't tell me how to do that," and other benign things, always said in her fiercest tone of voice.

What a struggle it is to be so little and so big all at the same time!

April 01, 2006 8:46 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

That's really funny. "You look ready to go!"

I think I may have the opposite problem with my boy. Of course all his bad words will be in Russian, so what will I know?

April 01, 2006 11:05 PM  
Anonymous Mrs Figby said...

Haaaa! Hilarious.

April 02, 2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

that's cute.

unfortunately zoe has 2 older brothers and 2 parents who shamefully admitted pottymouths.

yesterday i thought i was going to get a kiss. zoe has a mischevious look on her face and leaned in close... i smiled and turned my head and she whispered into my hair "butthole"

*sigh* not what i was hoping for.

April 03, 2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Eva has been known to mimic a perfect, "SHIT!" and I won't say who she heard it from...

April 04, 2006 2:23 PM  
Blogger Her Grace said...

At least I'm not the only one who lets the four letter words fly accidently around here!

April 04, 2006 7:01 PM  
Blogger Wendy O'Donnell said...

It is so hard to keep a lid on the outbursts - they are little people just figuring it all out but sometimes I forget to count to 10 and well, I just get mad! My 2 year old looks pleased when that happens - oy, the drama.

April 11, 2006 2:14 PM  

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