Posted by: thiscait | August 2, 2009

Creative Manipulation

As we attempt to teach Teddy to replace his screeched requests with signs, his older sister provides constant reminders of the pros and cons of having a child with language.

Like many three-year-olds, Natalie is very set on what she wants. She is a natural manipulator, and we have said for quite a while that she might someday make a good lawyer. Apparently our responses to her standard arguments were getting too predictable for her, because while traveling, she has come up with some new techniques.

While packing for our trip to Michigan, she approached me carrying her swaddled baby doll and a small train toy. Knowing that the toys were already packed and that we were not anxious to add to the pile, she opted for imagination. “Mama, we have to bring this train. My baby needs it. She is INSISTENT on it.” Caught off guard, I could do nothing but laugh and allow her to add the toy to the bag.

Yesterday at a rest stop, she was trying to negotiate bringing a few toys in with her. Our general rule is that toys don’t leave the car until we reach our destination, for fear of accidentally leaving some favorite toy behind and/or having to double back to retrieve something. After I told her that a book needed to stay, she began to argue for her baby to be allowed to come in. When I said no, she asked me to step aside, and reached her baby out into the sun from her carseat. “Look, Mama. She loves to be out of the car. See how she’s laughing?” Again, I was caught speechless, and the baby was allowed in with stern warnings to pay close attention not to leave her anywhere.

We’re taking applications for counsel for the defense.


  1. She is so clever!

    It begins over here. Just before she turned two, Punk was banging her spoon on her plate, which (I know, pick your battles, but whatever) is a “yucky manners” no-no around here. So I say some business like, “That’s yucky manners. Spoons are for eating.” and she comes back with, “I’m just makin’ a sound, mama.”

  2. Funny…you can’t wait for them to talk and communicate and once they do you wonder when they will finally just be quiet for a few minutes.

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