Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I See One of Two Career Paths in Elyse’s Future: Hostage Negotiator or the One Making the Demands.

Elyse is skilled in the art of negotiation much like Houdini was a master of magic. She knows her craft and she practices it relentlessly. There is almost nothing that the girl does in a day that wasn’t adjusted more to her liking through bartering.

During the holidays when my kitchen counters were constantly littered with cookies, she was forever begging for a third or fourth, and when she realized that I wasn’t giving in, she would turn to, “But I just want to touch it a little bit, Mom.” Or, Can I just look at it?” Or my favorite, “I just want to pet it for a while.” I think we all know that when it comes to cookies, it never ends with just “looking” at it.

While Elyse is an expert negotiator, there is one thing that she excels in even more. As Mike pointed out this weekend, Elyse is a grand master in the art of The Long Con. For example, she may have noticed that I had forgotten to put her pacifier up on the shelf when she woke up in the morning. She is a pacifier addict, but she knows that it would be pointless for her to just go to her room to get the pacifier because I would almost instantly notice the illegal activity and shut it down immediately. So she devises a scheme in which she requests to go downstairs to play with the cats. When we get downstairs she finds a cup of water or some other weapon of mass, mess making potential and creates a gigantic mess that I then have to clean up. I, the one being conned, believe that she just made a mess because she is two and is out to get me, but in reality, when I am busy cleaning up the mess, she is sneaking back upstairs into her room to grab the pacifier and hunker down under her covers until she is discovered and the pacifier is taken away. Getting me downstairs gives her more time with the pacifier.

Do you see what I am dealing with here? I know you’re thinking, “Oh, that’s crazy. She is two years old. Her mind doesn’t work like that yet.” You go ahead and let yourself think that, but it is naivete like that that will find you steam cleaning the milk out of your living room rug while she is off hustling the neighbors in a game of hopscotch for cookies.

I love the girl with all of my heart, but she is absolutely exhausting. I constantly have to be one step ahead of the game to keep up with her and sometimes that isn’t even enough. I suppose that the best that I can do is nurture her “gifts” in such a way that she ultimately uses her powers for good and not evil. Someday, when she is a top agent in the FBI, I will look back at these times as pivotal moments in her development and will say, “See, we always knew that she was going to do something important.” Otherwise I may be visiting her in prison regaling the guards with stories of the world’s greatest con artist when she was just itty bitty.


Leslie said...

It's the second child syndrome. There's something about #2. (And it's no coincidence that that's what they call poop.)