There’s a book sitting on my nightstand. There are actually four books, but this particular book, with its teal and yellow cover cheerfully informs me that, at some point, my youngest daughter won’t be the boss of me.
I thought I had a handle on this whole parenting thing. Our son easily followed rules and guidelines. He put himself to bed, was quickly redirected, never tried to kill us by turning on the gas burners, and never, ever put objects in electrical outlets. We patted ourselves on the back and assumed we had done something right.
Then our daughter was born.
Miss Bossy Pants doesn’t realise that she’s a wee toddler. She insists on “I do it!” and “No! Mine!” She won’t sleep unless she’s physically attached to someone. She’s not picky…anyone from her brother to her grandfather will do. She is single-minded in her attempts to eat poison, electrocute herself or burn the house down. No amount of distraction or redirection will veer her from her path. Rules are beyond her comprehension and she looks at us like we’re speaking a foreign language when we tell her no.
Even worse, she thinks she’s the boss of us.
From, “Mama sit here!” to “Daddy sleep with me!” to “No doggie!”, in her own little mind, she’s in charge.
Last weekend, my mum visited with two friends. One, a lovely woman who has not yet started her family, was especially vulnerable to Elizabeth’s bossiness.
I walked outside to enjoy my cereal in the cool morning air. Looking over, I saw Roopa sitting in her pyjamas on the footpath, her back against the stucco of the house, drawing with footpath chalk. Further down, Joseph sat on his own patch of concrete, colouring a large swath of blue.
“What’s going on?”
Roopa looked up, “Elizabeth wanted me to colour.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
Roopa started to stand. Elizabeth ran over from where she was supervising Joseph’s artistic endeavors and said, “No! Sit here! Color!” Roopa plopped back down while I stared at my little termagant.
“When I grow up, Elizabeth’s going to be my boss.”
This situation could get a little dicey.