“Mommy! I want to break this plate!”
It used to be that my darling Sunshine would change the subject when we encouraged her to consume calories other than ketchup covered tomatoes and pickles. But as of late, my perfect child has decided to assert her independence by challenging everything her parents request and even think.
It was a sudden change. Her eyes squinted with loathing and disgust when I asked something simple. “Would you like milk or water?” “I want to break this sippy cup!” “Which shirt would you like to wear?” “I want to eat my shirt!”
After a few days of complete at-a-loss-a-tude, Good Cop and Bad Cop sat down to research and discuss a course of action. Good Cop sat in disbelief at the drastic change his pretty baby had gone through while he was at work. Bad Cop, grateful for three minutes to stare at the computer screen, piped up, “Apparently, this is normal, and we are supposed to praise the good as usual and ignore the bad. We should try to give her more options and let her help more.”
Luckily, we were given plenty of opportunities to practice our new parenting the very next day. We’re Going to Get Through this Unscathed/Awesome Attitude Mom made a loaf of bread, played games, and tried her darnedest to ignore the not-so-shocking, shock-value statements. By 4 pm, Are We Really Still Working on this Mom was starting to poke her head around the corner. Tee-Tee showed up early to pick up The Jungle Kid and brought some much needed relief. She inquired after Sunshine’s Christmas wishes only to be informed that she didn’t want Christmas presents and that she wanted to eat the Christmas presents. Tee-Tee (not up on the new parenting) told her all about Santa’s relationship with ill-behaved children and coal.
“Say goodbye to The Jungle Kid girls!” I said as they left. “I want to eat The Jungle Kid!” roared my little grouchy pants. Tee-Tee rolled her eyes, wished me luck, and shut the door. “Well, you’ll have to go to jail for cannibalism, but it’s your choice,” Totally Not Shocked/This is Really Old Mom said. “I want to eat the jail!” “Okay, I’ll drive you in a minute, but I have to go potty first.” “I want to eat the toilet!” she screamed as I shut the door.
Trying Desperately Not to Laugh at My Child Mom washed her hands and bit her lip and put the parenting advice away. Sunshine, sensing defeat and on the verge of tears, tried to launch a slap legs attack as I walked out. “Sunshine, I fear it’s time to bring out two old friends of mine,” I said as I stuck out my two stiff pointer fingers. “When little girls are very naughty, it makes the bees very angry! It makes them so angry that they need to STING! BZZZZZZZZ. I quickly and randomly buzzed and poked her ribs and armpits and belly. She tried her hardest to be sulky and Goth, but in no time she dissolved into a fit of laughter. There’s my Sunshine.
When she was finally exhausted and sweaty from squirming and giggling, I taught her the lost eleventh commandment: Thou shalt not take thine own self too seriously.
Tip of the day: When parenting books are lame, you can always rely on a good old fashion working over like the Stinging Bees, Tickle Monster, and the Zerbert Zombie.