Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

Any minute now, my doorbell will ring  and some nice men will be looking to cloak me in a straitjacket and escort me to an all-expenses paid vacation in a luxurious padded cell.  I am not a religious person, so it strikes me as particularly noteworthy that I am half-praying for this particular type of rescue.

I'm pretty sure that I've lost whatever remained of my mind.  I'm sure that I could retrieve those pitiful fragments if I were at all willing to return to the girls' section of Target, but the fact of the matter is....i'm not.  I'm often wondered if life was easier/more relaxing/more fun if one were lobotomized.  I'll let you know how this pans out by the end of the week....I'm gonna give it a whirl.

It's a good thing that Little M is ridiculously cute.....or I might have given some moderate consideration to selling her (or at least loaning her out for a few days).   My friends M and MK once made a remarkably astute observation--which is that you don't normally see kids who are both off-the-rails and homely.  Think about that.   The Homo Sapien would be an endangered species if parents were routinely saddled with the double whammy.

Little M is charming, highly energetic, relentless, and----smarter than her parents.   And she knows it.  I recognize the look in her eyes when we attempt to outwit her.  It was the same look that I gave some of my teachers in elementary school- the "you may be bigger than me, but I'm smarter and there's no way you're going to prevail" look.  (Side note:  I'm sure my mom is laughing.  Mom was also right- you do get what you give.  If I apologize to every teacher who I thought was stupid when I was 7, do I get my good karma back?)

The child has a remarkable ability to push every button you have---and then immediately follow it up with the sweetest little gesture.  What this boils down to is that I'm pretty much f'ed.   I cannot outwit her, and God knows that I've tried.

Furthermore, as it turns out, Little M is genetically predisposed to being a stubborn, bite-your-nose-to-spite-your-face bonehead.   As I previously indicated (and unfortunately for me), she's smarter than I am, sees through my b.s. parental negotiations, and lets me know, in no uncertain terms, who's boss.  She's not at all afraid to martyr herself to further her mission of beating me into complete submission.

The other 95% of the time (primarily when she's not tired), of course, she's the sweetest, most gentle soul you'd ever want to meet.

Put these characteristics in combination, and you realize that I don't have a prayer against her demands.

Don't believe me?  Allow me to present you with a few stories that just might provide you with a bit more insight on life with my little beauty.

Exhibit A-  The Barefoot Boss

On Friday night, we had pizza at a neighbor's house.  Dinner was fun, and uneventful, and all little people were remarkably well behaved- at least until the last 5 minutes of the evening.  When it was time to leave and walk home, we politely asked the young lady to put on her shoes and jacket.  Let's just say it didn't go well.

Parent:   Time to put on your Uggs and jacket.
Little M (hands on hips):  NO BOOTS!  NO BOOTS!
Parent:  You need your shoes to walk home.  It's cold out.
Little M (clearly annoyed): I SAID no boots!  You carry me home!
Beleaguered Parent:  I will carry you home if you wear your boots and shoes.
Little M:  You'll carry me home.  NO BOOTS!
Truly Beleaguered Parent: (slides on boots)
Little M:  Kicks off boots with remarkable ease.  Boots gracefully land in front of parental feet.
Completely Unglued Parent In Another Person's House:   FINE!  You don't want to wear shoes?  FINE!  You walk home barefoot then!
Little M (with what I swear is a sneer):  Fine, then.  Let's go.

Game on.

I wish I could say that the child staged a turnaround and wore her boots and shoes, but the fact of the matter is that she did, in fact, walk home.... barefoot and with no coat... in February.  There were points during the 3 minute walk that I swear she looked a bit uncomfortable, but she was not giving either parent one shred of satisfaction.  She walked the whole way, shivering, but with that look in her eye that clearly said, "I called your bluff, you friggin' fools."

I guess I'm pleasantly surprised that she didn't tack on an "up yours" when we got back into the house.

She did call our bluff.  She wins.   What possible disciplinary tactic can I employ on a child that would rather walk barefoot, outdoors, in February than give either parent the satisfaction of winning?

(Subsequent event footnote:  Tonight, she asked me what I was blogging about, and I mentioned that I was telling the "barefoot, uphill both ways" tale.  She laughed....and then she added "I winned and you losed. "   Seriously.  I looked at her, askance, and she added "Even though you losed, I can give you a medal for being a good girl.  You wore your shoes."     Yeah. I'm totally f'ed.)

Exhibit B-  Underpants Embargo

Little M is very particular about what she wears--a trait that I not only understand, but I also encourage.  Recently, she's taken umbrage against....well, underpants.  She's very picky about her knickers.  I give up.

A few weeks ago, she declared her underpants collection to be"too plain", so we purchased some more jazzy options-- Rapunzel, princesses and my little pony, with emphasis on her favorite color, pink.  At least it was her favorite color until last Thursday.

Apparently now, however, her underpants are "too fancy" and not her new favorite color- purple.  Her Majesty dare not wear underpants that don't meet her exact specifications.  An underpants embargo was born.

Clearly, I'm not doing the world's greatest job at taking a hardline with this child, but even I have some standards.  Under no circumstance is my 3 year old going commando.  It's just not happening.  Thankfully, Little M is somewhat innovative, and managed to find some purple diaper covers that previously were worn underneath her summer dresses.  The child was willing to wear those for 2 days as an underpants substitute until I could go to Target to buy suitable underpants.  She looked ridiculous, but at least her rumpus was covered.

The purple underpants procurement process was a special experience.  By that, I mean that I've decided that I'd rather be lobotomized and institutionalized than go through that again.  We spent more time than anyone should in the girls' underpants section of Target, only to determine that it's unbelievably hard to find plain purple underpants.  Purple underpants with princesses, ponies, hearts?  Check.  Plain white underpants?  Check.  Plain purple?  Nice try, champ.  Now try again.

She dismissed approximately 18 packages of underpants with a flick of her tiny hand before we managed to find a 9-pack of underpants that contained 3 pairs of plain purple along with 6 pairs of unsuitable unmentionables that will remain unworn.   Don't care.  I'm not above throwing money at a problem, and I'd strongly prefer to spend $25 on a dozen pair of underwear that will never be worn than spend ONE MORE MINUTE fighting with my daughter over her unmentionables

Win-win, right?  Wrong.

In our excitement, we neglected to notice that we bought the wrong size.

Thankfully, she's not yet bothered by too-big underpants.  She'll grow into them eventually.

Exhibit C- Best Kid Ever

On the heels of the Target underpants experience, we took Little M to get a much-needed haircut.  Normally, that's an experience that rates with root canal and gynecological exams.  She once spent 6 months growing out a haircut that made her look like the Little Dutch Boy due to an ill-timed fit while the stylist cut her bangs.

So, suffice it to say, we entered the building with a fair amount of apprehension.

That apprehension was totally unfounded.  We asked her how she wanted her hair cut, and she said "short".  I asked her if she was sure, and she said "SHORT!"

Short it is.  I silently weeped a little bit as her long locks got chopped off, and a very cute and stylish bob took its place.  She was all smiles when it was done.   She bounced off the chair, gave me a huge hug, and told me "I look like YOU now!  We're short hair buddies!!!!!"

That's right----she cut off her hair because she wanted to look more like me.  Not sure why.....but how awesome is that?  The funny thing is that we do look more alike- turns out that we have the same chin:)

Also- I had a hideous night on Friday.  Won't go into detail because it involves others than me and I want to be sensitive to others' privacy, and everything ultimately worked out, but it was a bad, bad, nerve-racking night.  Mady didn't know what happened, but she knew I was "off" on Saturday morning.  She came up to me, put her head on my shoulder and rubbed my hair, and said "it's okay, Mommy.  It's gonna be okay."

My little girl may be a total handful and a mischievous little devil---but she also has the most beautiful, most gentle and most empathetic heart.  She may occasionally drive me to drink, but I wouldn't change on hair on her (now nicely groomed) head.  She's perfectly imperfect.

The good completely outweighs the not-so-good,

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