Friday, January 14, 2011

Point of Clarification

One of our daycare providers - Jacob - likes to call Kailey "mini-Angie". In many ways, this is inaccurate -- she is as much, if not more, a mini-Eric (love of outdoors, dogs, adventure, going upside down, perfectionist). But, his reason for dubbing her mini-Angie is he knows I'm a lawyer and Kai has become quite the negotiator/debater... hence, mini-Angie.

I've noticed it increasing in my own interactions with Kai as of late. Take our conversation this morning at breakfast:

Me: "Kailey, stop playing with your food."

Kai: "I'm NOT playing with my food... I'm playing with my SPOON."

Ahhh... of course. Whatever. Stop playing with your spoon, then, child. Kai likes to debate these little points, buying herself an extra minute or two of the prohibited activity while we parse out exactly what is, and is not, permitted.

Like last night at dinner:

Me: "Kailey -- stop that."

Kai: "I'm JUST spitting my water, mama."

Me: "I know. Stop spitting."

Kai: "Just into my cup, Mama."

Me: "No spitting. Not even into your cup."

Kai: "ONLY my cup."

Me: Sigh. "No -- not EVEN in your cup."

At which point she stopped and turned her attention to the salt shaker -- resulting in a very similar conversation involving salt and french fries.

Kai's favorite sentence starter is, "I'm just..." As in, "I'm just throwing my toothbrush in the toilet." (true story -- she did that today). I think she believes that starting the sentence with, "I'm just..." somehow diminishes whatever it is she is doing. Normalizes it. Makes it totally acceptable. "I'm just spitting my water into my cup" is much better than "spitting"... it's just water, into a cup... what's my issue? Other uses include, "I'm just chasing Abby," or "I'm just getting my cereal... don't HELP me."

The last example is particularly amusing (and annoying)... because whenever she implores us to NOT help her, she is engaged in an activity in which she will certainly need help. It's her preemptive ssshhh... because she REALLY wants to do it herself. So, she is both trying to minimize the activity (ie - just getting a bowl of cereal, ma. Nothing to see here) and then, realizing that she is doing something that I am most certainly not going to be on board with her doing by herself, she pauses and yells, "DON'T HELP ME!" (And, to tie this into the picture -- she also recently said, "I'm JUST using scissors!!" As though that is a perfectly acceptable activity for a 2 year old to be engaging in... duh!)

Kai's favorite negotiation tactic at this point is also an effort at minimization -- insisting that she wants "one more" or "ONLY one more" or "just one more". My favorite is the combination of the two approaches: "I'm JUST getting ONLY one more."

Ahhh... mastering adverbs is such fun!

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