When my brothers and I were young, my parents had to take us to the ER so often that they started to worry that people would think they were abusing us. We were just really good at doing stupid things, like riding a banana-seat bike with multiple children hanging from it. Barefoot, of course.
Now that I’m a parent, I have similar fears. Currently, I’m worried that people will think that Linnea is being raised by wolves. Since she turned three, she’s been acting what I call “impossible” much of the time. At her well-child visit last week, she refused to be weighed, measured, or spoken to. She not so politely declined to let the doctor look in her mouth. No amount of sweet-talking, demanding, begging, or bribing could change her mind. Even the doctor tried to tempt her with a packet of fruit snacks that I had packed.
As the doctor went over a list of developmental milestones, I laughed. Speaking in three-word phrases? No problem. This girl has been dishing all kinds of sass this week. Thank god she also gets plenty of sweetness in there in between comments like “No, mommy. You’re making me very upset.” In fact, today she said, “I’m going to help feed Baby. I’m a big sister!” And she actually did help feed the baby.
Yesterday, I really pushed my luck by taking her to get her birthday portrait taken. She woke up in a grumpy mood, and this was underscored by her hysterical reaction when the baby ripped the Band-Aid off her knee, so I knew it was a risky move. I told her that I’d take her to the donut shop afterward if she was good and hoped for the best. Delayed gratification is not really her thing yet, and while I really could’ve gone for a jelly donut, it was not to be.
During the photo session, she barely cracked a smile. It was basically a repeat performance of the doctor’s office, with me looking like a fool, begging my child to comply, while she seemed rather unimpressed by me in general. She looked at me calmly but made no attempt to acquiesce. I knew the session was over when she unintentionally but quite forcefully head-butted me.
Bedtime has been interesting as well. Up until now, having the kids share a room has gone quite smoothly. However, since Linnea turned three, she’s decided that it’s acceptable to make a complete racket in her bed. Maybe even a ruckus. On average, she’s disturbed the baby’s slumber about twice each evening. Every time, I get more and more angry, but again—no amount of pleading makes a difference.
Tonight, I tried a new tactic. New body language. “Wanna get out of bed and run around like a monkey?” my expression seemed to say. “Big deal.” I slouched down in a living room chair, typing away, while she continued to scramble from her bed to show me something or another. Usually, I would carry her back to bed with a few firm (or exasperated) words, but tonight I was nonchalant and downright positive. “Wow,” I said, “You’re going to be a really good girl and go hop right back in bed, aren’t you?” And strangely enough, she did.
I Want to Know
- Do you have any experience dealing with three-year-old children?
- If you’re a parent, do you ever fear that doctors, photographers, or complete strangers will think you’re entirely incompetent?