Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Machiavellian Kids: How to Crack Mommy

Carmella is funny in what she says. Beau is funny in what he does. My Achilles heel is silliness. I cannot be mad if you make me laugh.

Right this second they are in a war over morning TV. Beau wants to change the channel and keeps bringing me the remote. Carmella tells me "He is out of his mind! This IS kid's TV! Just ignore him Mommy. Let him have his fit. It's good stuff." Carmella wins: she is funnier.

What she says, I know, is not a terribly funny statement but what I am hearing is myself--intonation and exact words-- parroted back to me by my 5 year old. This is how she gets her way with me: she imitates me or talks circles around me. Last night, for example, my little UN President negotiated her way through a dinner of broccoli and brown rice, sweet potatoes and sausage. "Okay, Mommy, how 'bout this: I eat all my sausage; all my rice and broccoli and I'll have 3 bites of the orange stuff. And then I get a brownie.[pause] Can I hear a yes?"

"Whoop Whoop," was my response.

There is rarely conflict with Carmella because she just plainly states her case--no emotion--just rational requests. Requests, as a parent you are not prepared to hear from a small child, that are cushioned between things you want to hear instead of the usual childhood antics of whines and foot-stomping demands. Carmella never does that. Even if you say no to her she won't give you the pleasure of a tantrum or even a "Please Mommy Please!" begging session. She will just say okay, maybe some other time or Bubbles or Lala will get it for me. I admire her confidence and self-assurance. And I know she will eventually get her way because I get completely bamboozzled and brainwashed by her. She can make anything sound logical. Typical Carmella: "Okay Mommy. Here is the plan. I will clean my room, and then the playroom and eat all my dinner and then Alexa can spend the night and you will help us make cookies and take us to get ice cream." I am halfway to agreeing when I realize that she said SPEND THE NIGHT not come over and play. Then we have the argument about 5 being way too young for sleep overs and then she counters with how 5 year olds don't get scared, can brush their own teeth and don't make Mommies crazy like 2 year olds. She ticks her reasons off on her fingers. I'm 34 and still cannot arrange such a focused argument.

Needless to say I need to brush up on my arguing skills if there is any hope for me in the adolescent years.

So I have one child that cracks me with her mental Olympics. Beau on the otherhand has found that absolute silliness is the way to charm Mommy. While Carmella will talk until I am paralyzed and under her spell Beau gets me with his pantomime comedian routine. I swear he must be watching the Pink Panther. I have caught him on several occasions sneaking from time out, the dinner table, whatever--a la Pink Panther-- on tippy toes and long strides with sideway glances. I acutally hear in my head the Pink Pather theme when I see him.

And, of course there is the whole whistling thing. He whistles when he is up to something that he shouldn't be. I can't tell if he is purposely giving himself away and doing it for comedic effect or if he just thinks that you are suppose to whistle when you are up to no good. I don't know but the pantomines crack me up.

I admit it. I have a tough time with discipline and being angry with them because they are so damn funny. They know I am weak and totally crackable. All they have to do is talk fast, make Mommy laugh and punishment is easily averted. They have figured out these unscrupulus and cunning methods to secure their power over me.

I am not worthy [bowing] I am not worthy [bowing].


  1. Hysterical! Thank you so much for doing a blog. Your kids will thank you for it later, too.

  2. Your kids are so smart it is scary.