Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sugar And Spice And Dismemberment

Ah, the joys of having a daughter. Little girls are so sweet. So ladylike. They enjoy quiet activities like tea parties, dress up, coloring.... You can almost hear the cherubic, harp-like music whenever they enter a room, all smiling and clean and free from the intent to fart on you at every turn.

At least, that's what I always thought. Before I actually had one.

Don't get me wrong. I love Elsa. Really, I do. She's fun. She's charming. And she only occasionally sticks incongruous objects up her nose.

But over the past few months I've noticed another quality manifesting itself within this chubby little dynamo of a child: 

She is more manipulative than Hannibal Lector trying to get a cellmate to swallow his own tongue.

Right now I think her MO is flattery. The other day I was sitting in her room nursing Finn and she played quietly with her baby dolls (quietly in that she was muttering to one of them that she was going to tear its arm off if it didn't eat its dinner...I swear I've never issued that particular threat before...although I am wondering if it might be more effective than threatening to withhold dessert).

I watched her try to pull off the offending baby doll's arm with no luck. And while it was pretty amusing to watch her enforce her own brand of punishment (kinda like how Rambo might have handled the situation) I decided to make sure she understood that pulling a baby's arm off is usually not the best way to get a kid to eat. Since we, you know...have a new baby in the house. And since Finn's hair is looking a little reddish these days, he doesn't need another strike* against him by way of a missing limb.

Me: Elsa, really shouldn't try to pull her arm off.
Me: Well, because they don't really come off of that doll.
Elsa: But Momma, she's being naughty.
Me: I know, but that's not how you should punish her. That's not how I punish you, is it?
Elsa: ...But I don't want to put her in time out.
Me: Okay then...maybe you can just pretend she is eating her dinner. (Sure, Mom. Let's squelch her creativity in the name of Making Sure She Isn't A Fledgling Sociopath).

Elsa seems to be heeding my suggestion, and I go back to nursing Finn and playing Scrabble on my phone. (Side Note: I'm a 33-year-old English Major, fairly well-read and'd think I would be a pretty decent Scrabble player. But no. I suck. I can't even beat my red-headed little brother. In fact, he whups me by far more points than any of my other opponents. So maybe the red-head gene isn't a handicap after all. Maybe Finn will be sort of a spelling seldom-used words in seven letters or fewer. That's gotta be good for something, right?)

Anyway, a few minutes later Elsa approaches me with her naughty baby doll and says in just the sweetest voice you can imagine.

Elsa: Momma, you look like you have strong hands...can you get her arm off for me?
Me (after I've finished laughing): Why thank you, Elsa. Is that a good thing? Looking like I have strong hands?
Elsa just stands there and blinks at me with those big ol' baby blues.
Me: Elsa, I'm not taking this poor doll's arms off. I don't even think they're supposed to come off.
Elsa: Yes they are.
Me: No, I'm pretty sure they aren't.
Elsa: But they are, Momma.
Me: Well, be that as it may, I still don't want you pulling them off.
Elsa: ...But my daddy said I could.
Me: ....Oh really?

This is another card she's been pulling: whenever she’s attempting to do or obtain something I normally wouldn’t allow or let her have, she claims that someone of a higher authority than myself said she could. 

“Elsa, you may not stand on the coffee table.” 
“But my daddy said I could.”

“Elsa, don’t put Baby Finn’s paci in your mouth.” 
“But Nana said I could.” 

“Elsa, do not stick balled-up pieces of tissue up your nose.” 
“But Little Bear said I could.”

She also enjoys arguing with me. And for a two-year-old, her arguments can be quite compelling. Sometimes it seems like she must think I don't know what the hell I'm talking about:

Elsa (as we're doing 60 mph down a county road): Roll my window down, Momma.
Me: Please?
Elsa: Yes.
Me: ...No, that's your cue to say please.
Elsa: Please, Momma.
I obligingly crack the window.
Elsa: No, open it all the way!
Me: Elsa, I'm not gonna open it all the way--it'll be too windy. 
Else: No it won't.
Me: Yes it will. You'll blow away.
Elsa: No I won't--I'm buckled.
Me: got me there.

Elsa is the kind of kid the phrase Because I Said So was invented. I've been using it so much, I'm pretty sure it will be Finn's first sentence. Either that, or, Rollie, stop trying to pass gas on me--don't you know how disgusting that is? Which is another phrase that gets a lot of airtime in my house. Pardon the pun.

What, Me? Awkward?
Still, she has her moments of sweetness. Of tea parties and dress up and coloring. When I'm looking anyway. It's when I'm not looking that makes me wonder how long it will be before Finn emerges from Elsa's bedroom, minus an appendage. At least he could still beat her ass at Scrabble.

* And I'm totally kidding about the whole red-headed thing. There is almost not scientific evidence that having red hair makes one more hot-tempered, awkward or unable to catch--or throw--a football. So it must just be an amazing coincidence with my brother.


  1. Lol funny as ever I've really missed your posts. As far as the red-heads go, you got the hot-tempered bit right lol. My little brother's a red-head. My family's always said red-hair means they'll be hot-tempered =P.

  2. Hilarious. Brings new depth of meaning to the genetic crapshoot theory. And am I the only one who prophesied red hair for Finn?

  3. Thanks, Victoria! I'll try to get more posts up soon. :)