The lower lip juts out, arms crossed and eyes accusing.
” Mama, I’m sad. ”
” What happened baby ?”
“You don’t feed me. You don’t watch me. You don’t listen me. You don’t play me. You don’t cook me. You don’t fight me and daddy .”
My heart falls. We’re about to go to bed. I go over the day. Did I ignore him today in any way? No, we colored, played, went out. I even fed him two meals out of three. No time outs even. We couldn’t make his cheddar biscuits but I have plans for that tomorrow. So, this is not me. It’s something in his head.
” Why do you think that ? Mama loves you so much.”
A little sniffle. ” But you don’t fight me and daddy in play room. I want to go toy room. ”
Ah ! This is about not sleeping. I snicker at his obvious but genius manipulative move.
“It’s time to sleep. I’ll read you story. ”
“No I don’t want story. I want to fight daddy in toy room. I don’t like you. I like my friends. They share their batman with wings with me. You don’t buy me batman.
I little hurt, ” But mama bought you your small ironman, you superman, superman car, spider man car and we also just got you transformer. All your toys mama buys na. And you say you don’t love Mama. ”
” Don’t be sad. Ok. Goodnight ”
In just a few minutes, I oscillated from self doubting mom to expert negotiator. Parenting’s biggest drawback is we question ourselves at every single step, often with a heavy heart knowing the right thing to do is harder on us than the little ones. And they in their innocence think we are the “bad guys”.
We persevere for we know that in the end, all we do is out of love and they are our biggest blessing. They too in their tiny hearts know full well that No one can love them as we do.
Though what I wonder about is, I used to think manipulation is an adult concept. Seeing these little ones with their tiny minds working overtime to convince those older than them with cleverly devised arguments and emotional manipulation is quite entertaining.