Like most moms with more than one kid, I thought I had things pretty well figured out by the time our third came along. I'd already been through the newborn, infant and toddler stages. Twice. With boys. A little girl? I've got this shit handled. Then I met my little girl. My sweet, wonderful, fearless, brazen, wild, lovable little girl. Ohhh universe! This one should have come with a manual, or at least a warning label. The following are a few examples of what life with Syda is like these days. Just in case the pic below leaves you guessing.
She reached for a roll of paper towels still in the wrapper. I attempted to take them from her. Mama Mistake #1.
"Syda, let me have the paper towels."
"Those are paper towels and they need to go back."
"They mine. They go with me"
"Syd, they go in the closet."
"They are mine. I be gentle. I hold it like a baby." (read: "Really mom, I can handle this. Back off would you. I'm almost four. Seriously.)
She started to saunter off cradling her paper towel baby, as if the promise her gentleness was all I needed to hear. The resulting flood of crocodile tears when I did put the paper towels back was impressive. On the plus side, this is going to make shopping for her birthday present so easy and cheap! Maybe I can get a case at BJs for her, you know, really go for it. I'll have to see if I can find a case where each roll is individually wrapped.
She stole my seat on the couch. I know, I know. You're thinking, really? Who's the preschooler here? But I had my knitting set up on one side of the couch and moving it while Syda is on the couch usually results in knitting casualties. It's easier to move her than try to keep a long string of yarn from being attacked as she sticks her legs out, grabs the yarn, lays on the knitting bag...you get the idea. I gently made the suggestion that we switch back to our original places.
"Syda, do you want to sit on this side?"
"Do you wan go bed?"
(read: "Do you need a timeout mama?") Wan = Want Almost-Four-Year olds get more bang for their buck when they leave off final consonants. It's a truly evil combination of snarkiness and cuteness. It renders this parent defenseless.
Her response was said in a very Mama voice. It's one of those times that all parents know. If you don't know it yet, it's only because your BABY is too young to mirror your words yet. Wait for it, it's coming. I promise you. I'll give you a brief walk through though, so you'll be prepared.
Your child says some phrase that you've said sometime in her life.
Usually, a phrase that is repeated and is not your proudest moment of parenthood. Some examples would be:
"Where are my damn keys?"
"Can I pee ALONE please?"
"You're hungry again?!"
This little voice pops out of nowhere and suddenly you can feel the hairs on the back on your neck go up. She's not singing Old MacDonald anymore, she's reenacting your worst parenting moments, and she's a very convincing actress. If kids could have their own Oscars this category, Humiliating Mama Mimickry, would be the equivalent of the Best Picture and my daughter would have a shelf full of them on display in the living room.