I was cleaning up the kitchen and my hubby went into the living room to get our Little Princess to clean up the mess she had made in a short amount of time – she was sitting on the floor studiously coloring, and had crayons scattered, as well as several coloring books and her Color Wonder Explosion stuff lying around. I heard him tell her to start picking up; it’s time to get ready for bed. A few minutes later I heard the ‘warning’.
Dada: “If you don’t pick up your stuff, I’ll pick them up!”
Which, in the past, usually translates to: “If you don’t pick up your stuff, I’ll pick them up, put them in a box, put the box in the shed, and I’ll forget I put it in there, and you’ll forget you ever had them until we happen to run across the box someday. In the future. When you’re a teenager. Or when you’re a grandmother. Or never.”
Usually when I give her that warning, if she doesn’t pick up her stuff (toys, books, etc. scattered all over the living room floor) the ‘box’ I put them in turns into a Goodwill box or an eBay box. So if I’m the one giving the ‘warning’, she usually says: “Pleeeaaaaaase don’t sell them on eBay!” I haven’t done that…yet. I do have some outgrown baby and toddler toys ‘stashed’ in the attic that she’s totally outgrown that I need to organize/clean before donating – and I can’t do it when she’s around, because she’ll suddenly decide she does want/need to play with them…even though they’re for babies. And she’s not a baby. Except when she acts like one.
I’m keeping an ear out for what will inevitably come – the ear-piercing shriek followed by the gut-wrenching crying, with the blubbering words “No, Dada, don’t pick those up!” as my hubby starts to do as he said he was going to do – picking up the things that she didn’t pick up. Now, when this happens, usually its short lived. OK, let me rephrase that – when it happens to me, it is short lived, because I know how to distract her, get her to help pick things up, make it a game. Guess between my hubby and myself, he’s the ‘bad cop’ and I’m the ‘good cop’. Except when I’m the one who usually has to say ‘No’, and he doesn’t. Then I’m the bad one. 😉 When my hubby is the one who technically makes her cry in protest, he doesn’t know how to deal with the crying and protesting, he just steadfastly ignores her and continues picking up her things – she’s usually so distraught at the sight that she stands there and just cries (because he’s not paying attention to her and acknowledging her distress).
It was all I could do to stay out of it, after all, my hubby needs to have his moments of parenting without my input, how else will he learn the very fine art? He told her in a very stern voice to go upstairs to brush her teeth and get ready for bed. She protested (and cried – loudly) some more, which led to him doing that counting thing – we usually count to 5, and by the time we reach 4 she’s doing what she’s told…I could hear the wailing transitioning up the staircase, into the bathroom, and muffled as she brushed her teeth. Then the crying stopped…for about 5 minutes…then started up again enforce. My hubby came into the kitchen and said to me with a smile and chuckle “Our daughter is so full of it, isn’t she?” Me: “Why do you say that?” Hubby: “Because when I went and got the humidifier to fill it up while she was brushing her teeth, she suddenly stopped crying and said “Look, Elvis is up here, perfect timing – now we can give him a bath!” from crying to smiling and suggesting we give Elvis a bath…I don’t get it!” Me: “I thought the crying sounded more like ‘mad’ crying rather than ‘feelings hurt’ crying…” And it explained why the crying stopped, then started again because of course Dada said no way to giving the dog a bath because it was too late and it’s time for bed…
Now it was time for me to join the bedtime reading and hugs and kisses – she looked so forlorn all snuggled in under the feather blanket, her crying had diminished to whimpering. I asked if she was ready to read her bedtime story, and she said, in a very small voice “Yes, but I’m sad, Dada needs to apologize to me.” I tried not to laugh out loud as I asked “Why?” Savannah: “Because he was mean to me and picked up my stuff.” This time I couldn’t contain my peals of laughter. She didn’t like that much. She started to cry again. Especially when I did reinforce the fact that she needs to pick up her stuff when she’s asked to, not throw a tantrum with the uncontrollable crying. Then I told her that she’s going to confuse Santa, he’s had to transfer her name from the Nice list back to the Naughty list so many times lately, that she better be careful, one of these days he’s going to forget to put her name back on the Nice list. She thought that was funny, and decided she’d much rather be on the Nice list, so she wiped away her tears and snuggled down for her story. She had exerted so much energy all day long, then with the good 45 minute crying session she was exhausted, so she fell asleep fairly quickly. From Angel to Devil to Angel in about an hour’s time. But I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world!