“Another day if you have visitors you have to go home early,” my three year old girl told me.
Nowadays, there are days when I look at her and take a deep breath while cupping my chin in my hands such that my fingers cover my mouth, nose and eyes. I try to think of an appropriate response to her and come up with nothing. I try to figure out if I should discipline my threenager for her upcoming puzzling behavior or I should just accept that she is mirroring me, deliberately or perhaps not. Then I shake my head and decide to move on with my life because that’s all I can do. If I do not concentrate on myself, I will lose my head trying to figure out and “bring up” a three year old.
So, she told me to be going home early because we were shopping and I received a call after which I told her we had to stop and go home because a friend who had promised to pass by was on her way to our house. I had left the car at the carwash, and on getting there the cleaners were still wiping the seats.
“Tell them that you have visitors,” said my little girl to me.
I looked at her the way I nowadays do when I am figuring out whether to give her a life lesson on handling issues or to completely ignore her.
She then deemed it best to speak on my behalf and went right ahead to the guy cleaning the seats.
“We have visitors”
The guy just looked at her and chuckled.
I wanted to tell her that she has no right to tell me when to go home early or late, then I thought it’s better to save my breath since i was not sure I could handle the discussion that would come with such an instruction. My dear daughter has become an instructor,just like me. I know how many times I have told her if she wants to be on time to school she will have to sleep on time. How often I have told her how she has to clean up after herself or I will take all her toys and keep them in my room. I think one day I told her she has to respect my househelp or move out. Judge me not, you have no idea what big “NOOOOOO’s “ she was giving my help whenever she was asked to do something.
I am wondering whether she will understand that she cannot question grown-ups…wait a minute, that is not the lesson I want to pass. As long as she is not being rude, she is free to ask questions and also say what she thinks. I must also figure out how to answer the “WHY” question that will come when I tell her she cannot tell me what to do.
These are the other puzzling things my threenager is up to which I have decided not to let bother me one bit;
> “Unfriending” me whenever I do not do her bidding
“And me, I am not your friend!” says the girl and she folds her arms across her chest.
Well enough, by the time she is old enough to join facebook, my daughter will have learnt that befriending or unfriending me is so inconsequential, at least to me. I have friends, she is my daughter and she will always be,whether she unfriends me or not.
My response; (I do know in Sunday school they were taught that God is their friend because I always ask what they learn. I also get to be asked what we learn in “big church”). So I respond,
“That’s alright if you aren’t my friend, God is my friend and that’s what matters most. Jesus is my Best Friend, I love him so much…:”
“Stop, mum, even I am not going to talk to you and you don’t talk to me”
I say , “That’s ok, I am talking to God! Oh God, thank you for everything, You are so good, oh I love you so much, thank You for my daughter, bless her and help her even not to get sick…”
You get the drift. By now, my threenager is looking at me like I am a psycho.
“I will tell God not to talk to you. Even Jesus, nobody will be your friend”
I laugh and tell her God does not work like that. Frankly, I enjoy being unfriended now.
> Repeating requests
Have you ever been asked something so many times you thought your head would burst? Wow, threenagers are just a special people! This was my most recent. Her grandma lives in Rongai.
Her: I want to go to Rongai
Me: No, we are just from Rongai
Her: But me I want to go to Rongai
Me: I said NO.
Her:I want to go to Rongai
Her: Please mum may I go to Rongai?
Me: (tired) No, not today.
Her: I want to go to Rongaiiii (almost crying)
Me: We will go next week
Her:(exasperated) But I want to go to Rongai nooooow!
Me: (I take a deep breath). Why do you want to go?
Her: Because I love Rongai
Her: Now can I go to Rongaiiii?
Me: Please just keep quiet or I will discipline you.
Her: (crying) I wa-a-n-t to go to Ronga-iiii
Dear world, I am so tired. Somebody just give me a coffee.
> The Dressing Drama
Parents long for schools to open for many reasons; mine is that because when school is open my daughter wont change clothes whenever she feels like. We go through three changes on some mornings, simply because she wants to change.
And stop wondering why I do not buy my daughter enough clothes if you have seen her in the same outfits over and over again. She is three and a half, she chooses her own clothes. It is at this age when they learn that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Who came up with that anyway? he owes mums all over the world a big apology. Out of the many pink things I buy, she selects only her favourite few.
You must be wondering why I do not just put my foot down and choose her clothes and dress her in them. I have just one question for you, have you ever tried to forcefully dress a three year old?
My response; It’s not worth it. I will choose my battles very carefully. This wont be one. I have a life, let me just live it.
>The food critic
“What did you put in these pancakes?”
“But I can taste something”
“It’s good for you, just eat it…”
“No, I don’t like these pancakes.”
Okay, leave them there I will eat them with daddy (who is happily enjoying his pancakes during this critique session).
He tries to help,
“Eat them, they are so nice…see the way I am eating many?”
“No, they are not yummy”.
Response: We keep quiet and keep eating.
> “Why?” “What?” “How?” – then “Why?” again!
She sees a child eating a lolly. She asks me why I don’t buy her lollies.
I say lollies are not good for her teeth. She asks me what about the teeth of that other child. I tell her that the child will spoil his/her teeth. She asks why her mummy is allowing her to. I say because all mummies are not the same. She asks me when I will buy her a sweet. I say I will buy one when we go to the airport. We do not go to the airport that often, but when we do, I sure buy the sweet. But when in the supermarket, she knows she should ask for a fruit not a sweet. She asks me why. I say because fruits are good. She asks if they will make her strong and tall. I say yes. She asks if I am tall because I take fruits…
Response; Always learn to have an answer. And pray for grace, because the probability of snapping is truly high.
> Sassy Comments
“You guys , I am coming just wait here for me.”
That is my three year old talking to her dad and I.
I tried to tell her to stop calling me “you guy”, but her dad thought it was actually cute. So I gave up.
Recently she asked me,
“Kwani today you are not cooking for your husband?”
I laughed so much that nowadays she is always telling me of her husband. When I ask who her husband is, she names my husband. Alright, I will survive just fine with this.
> All by myself!!!
“No, don’t help me, I can do it.”
I live with this statement. If I do not politely request to help my threenager with her things, she will insist on doing them all by herself and we will take hours on one task.
I wish somebody could assure me that this is not an age-issue. That someday when she is a teenager I will start to clean the kitchen and she will come tell me, “I can do it all by myself”.
Wishful thinking, huh?
My response; When not pressed for time, I let her do everything all by herself!
> Role playing and made-up stories.
“Excuse me lady, how can I go to Ngong road?”
That is what she asked me earlier today. I have learnt to catch on to these role-plays quickly. I well assume that I am the lady and give her the directions, just so that I can continue with my day. Other times she is reversing an imaginary car and asking me if she should stop. Other times I am given stories of how her baby has been a good girl because she has taken all her porridge. She sometimes tells the story of how she was flying a plane.
My response; Gladly, I have learnt to be everything; a doctor, a patient, a student, a policewoman, and a baby.
So when you see me tired sometimes, please excuse me, I have been so much within a day.
> The Silent Treatment
“Hey, is your sister asleep?”
I ask this question with all friendliness and she gives me a stare instead of an answer. I am sure she heard me.
My response; Sometimes I give a lecture on how she must answer every question I ask. Sometimes I do nothing.
Threenagers can make you wonder if you have a small underage teenager in your house, but the good news is that finally they do grow up. Just make sure none of it overwhelms you, and cherish the times they are so nice and so helpful and in their best behavior. Cherish the times they say you are so good, you are their best friend and they love you so much. Cherish the times they just want to be heard, take many photos, take as many video-clips. Because these days will end so fast and you will wonder how the year slipped you by.