I am convinced that Kate has an informant from the TIA Toddler Intelligence Agency that visits her in the night, performing intensive coaching in the Art of Parental Manipulation. I’m also investigating the possibility that they’ve been piping in the webinar at daycare on a regular basis. There is no other explanation; a three-year old cannot come up with such well designed tricks executed to perfection. If so, then I think someone needs to be pouring money into researching the fact that we might possibly be born as smart as we will ever be, then get stupider as we age. There is something about a three-year old outwitting their parent that just isn’t right. And no Craig, it has nothing to do with the fact that I am blonde.
The other day at lunch, my friend Jodi and I were marveling at just how smart and coy Kate and Jenna both are at this stage. Long gone are the expected tactics of MOM SAID NO, SO I WILL JUST ASK DAD. Oh no, this generation has version 5.0, upgraded for ultimate performance. They aren’t messing around with the staid and ancient tricks used by toddlers of days past.
On our way home one night this week, Kate and I were involved in a never-ending argument about whether or not she was going to play on her swing set when we got home. My answer continued to be NO. She approached this challenge with the vigor one might expect out of someone seeking to wrong every injustice of the world. She apparently thinks that “No” means “If I ask 500 more times and sneakily convince her that all signs point to playing outside, maybe she’ll say yes.”
Kate: Can we play outside for a little bit?
Me: No Kate, it’s already past your bedtime.
Kate: Just for 5 minutes.
Me: No Kate.
Kate: Just for 2 minutes.
Me: Nope Kate, we aren’t playing outside for any minutes.
Kate: Let’s feel the weather. I think it’s warm. It’s perfect for playing outside.
Me: Kate, it’s too late, we aren’t playing outside.
Kate: It’s not dark yet mom, we can play outside until the moon comes up.
Me: Kate, we are NOT playing outside.
Kate: Can we just go look at the swingset?
The debate has ceased.
Mom 1: Kate 259,897?
Not so fast.
As we are driving up the driveway, Kate catches a glimpse of her swing set in the backyard.
Kate: “MOM! MOM! MOM!”
Me: What Kate?
Kate: Someone took 3 of the trapeze bars from my playset. Three of them are gone. They are missing. They are all gone! (Insert dramatic back of the hand application to the forehead, indicating a near fainting moment.)
Me: What? No one stole your trapeze rings.
Kate: Yes, they did. Three of them are miss-iiiii-nnnngggg.
Me: They are not Kate, you can’t even see that far.
Kate: I think we need to go back there and look, just for 2 minutes …
What have I gotten myself into? I’m not sure who has been slipping this kid pointers, but I have them on a Most Wanted Poster. I have vivid flashbacks of our Pediatrician pegging her for a career in the White House at her 2 year check-up. I of course attributed that complement to her wit, brilliance, and intellect. At the time, I didn't realize she might of actually been foreshadowing the hidden skills of manipulation and lies that would make her much better suited for politics.