On toddlers and arrogance – when a wink can mean so much

My boy is developing a new stalling technique. In the morning before getting marched off to daycare, he has started slowing down on his consumption of breakfast. He knows that we want him to start his day all fueled up. He therefore refrains from consuming much food in the hope that we’ll slip up and give him a few more minutes to chow down rather than ship out. This face off inevitably leads to one of two outcomes: he either ends up throwing a massive tantrum as food and drink is pried out of his hands so we can get him dressed, or he shoves everything he can into his mouth in a last second bid to squirrel away whatever he can for the trip ahead.

He must apparently sense some level of control over the situation as either my wife or I slip up and let him win a small victory from time to time. Perhaps we give him another minute to gobble down some cereal, or bring the cup of milk back out of the fridge after he’s dressed for one final going away slurp. He’s therefore started migrating the behaviour to other occasions.

Tonight, we went for a longer than usual walk to play in a new, faraway park. Since we came in late, we did not start snack time as regularly scheduled. The increased urgency of getting something into his belly before washing him up and tucking him in for bed was beginning raise its ugly head. Our young fellow was munching away while seated between his two  parents, taking his sweet ol’ time.

“Ok, young un’, shower time.” I announced.

“Uh uh.” He kept staring at his snack bowl.

“You’ve got one minute, and we’re cleaning you up for bed. Gobble it down and go.”

A languid slurp of milk was all that answered.

“Ok, you’re lining yourself up to get tossed into the shower all dressed, kid.” I frowned, trying my best to look severe.

He deliberately reached down into his bowl, picked out a piece of Cheerios and slowly plopped it into his mouth. He then turned his head towards me and winked, smiling all the while. He then turned back to his bowl.

My wife and I both caught it. We laughed our heads off. What does one say to that? The kid’s got a pair on him that should make any parent proud.

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2 thoughts on “On toddlers and arrogance – when a wink can mean so much

  1. Sorry for my unsolicited advice, but I just couldn’t refrain. His assertion is probably still in the cute stage for you and your wife, but if it ever does slip into a more stubborn defiance that you guys want to curtail, you could always dress him before meals, and have the evening bath and jammies before snacks. But then I suppose he will find a way to maneuver around that too, as they are masters at playing their parents and finding all ways which work to their benefit.

    • Not a problem, I love advice, and appreciate your feedback!

      He indeed is a smart one. I think they all are far more so than most give them credit for at that age. We’re continuously evolving our methods as he matures and finds ways to adapt or seek his own edge in trying to assert himself.

      The biggest weakness in our approach emerges when there are differences in the reaction and consequences to any breach in our conditions for his behaviour. For the most part, we have a pretty unified approach, but kids are sufficiently perceptive and intelligent to spot them and exploit any gap they can find. I guess that’s why we’ve evolved such large brains.

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