It’s bad enough that I am well aware of my own faults andbad behaviors, but now Iris, my daughter, who is not even four years old yet, has started to notice them and point them out.
Look, I already know I am not the most pleasant person in the morning and I sometimes say I will do something “in a minute” when I really mean I will do it “as soon as I finish reading this article and play a game of Sudoku.” And I don’t really wish to be reminded that I am not as polite as I should be, or as nice as I want to be, or that I am a much more horrible parent than I intended to be.
But, as I now live with a pint-sized busybody, I am reminded. Every day. All day. Often loudly.
Honestly, I thought it was cute when she started doing it to my husband, Quinten.
Iris: Daddy, why do you drink so much coffee and beer?? Normal people drink water and juice and milk.Quinten: What do you mean so much??
Me: (attempting to come to Quinten’s defense) I drink soda! Does that make me not normal?
Iris: No, only Dad is bad.
It was totally unprovoked, too. We were in the car and no one was drinking anything at the time. Apparently, it was just something she’d been contemplating. I think I giggled for half an hour. Poor Quinten spent a couple of days asking me if he drank too much coffee.
But, then, this happened while I was on the phone with my mother (in my defense, I was doing laundry at the time):
Iris: Grammy, I have to tell you sumping… (shouting at the phone receiver) MOMMY’S NOT WEARING ANY PANTS!!!
A few days later I tried to sneak one Cheeto (just ONE) off of her plate when we were eating lunch together at Subway. I tried and failed. The sneaking part. I failed the sneaking part. The eating a Cheeto part I did just fine. But, the response was,
Iris: (in the car, 20 minutes after we had left the restaurant, in an accusatory tone) Mom, you took my ma’Cheeto!
Me: I’m sorry, sweetie. It was just one.
Iris: (at home 3 and a half hours after the incident in question, lip quivering) I’m sad, Mom, because you took my ma’Cheeto.Me: I said I was sorry, sweet pea. You got to eat all the other Cheetos, though.
Iris: (to Quinten, the next day) Mom took my ma’Cheeto!!Me: That was yesterday and I’ve already apologized. Let it go.
I guess I was unprepared for how observant she has become. And she’s like a ninja about it. Even when you think she’s not paying attention, even when she’s facing the other direction and looking at something else entirely, she’s noticing what you are doing.
For example, during our recent cold snap, I introduced Iris to hot chocolate with marshmallows. And, of course, it immediately became her favorite drink. Because why wouldn't it? But there are times to drink hot chocolate with marshmallows and times to not drink hot chocolate with marshmallows. And one of the times to not drink hot chocolate with marshmallows is right before bedtime. Which, of course, means that, last week, right before bedtime was exactly the time that Iris decided to beg for hot chocolate with marshmallows. Beg and beg and beg and plead and implore and screech and howl and beg some more. As I was not interested in dealing with a sugar high right while I was trying to get her to go to sleep, I said no.
Now, I’m not going to lie, I am a fan of the hot chocolate with marshmallows. At times when I cannot actually have the hot chocolate with marshmallows, I will settle for just marshmallows. At times when I don’t even want hot chocolate with marshmallows, I will still eat just marshmallows. And Iris has, it seems, inherited my practicality in this matter. When I told her she couldn’t have hot chocolate with marshmallows, she went the obvious alternative route of asking if she could just have a marshmallow. I suppose I could have just said no. But, it had been a long day. A long, long day. And I just didn’t have it in me to deal with another round of whiny entreaties. So, I told her we didn’t have any more marshmallows.
That’s right, I lied. I lied to my child. Right to her face. And she just accepted it! She just accepted the lie and went back to playing with her Legos!
To celebrate, I ate a couple of marshmallows.
And then, NINJA!
Iris: Mommy? What are you eating?Me: (my mouth still stuffed with marshmallow) A cracker.
Iris: (looking at me suspiciously) Is it a white cracker?
Me: (attempting to talk without opening my mouth wide enough for her to see into it) Yyyeessss?
Iris: (still suspicious) Is it mooshy?
Me: (dejectedly) Yes.
Iris: Can I have one?
The only thing that saved me was Quinten yelling “BEDTIME!” and taking her upstairs to put her down (while laughing his ass off).
The way this is going, I have two choices, I either need to improve my behavior, or…….
I guess I’ve really only got the one choice.
So much trouble.