Who’s in Charge?

Don’t answer that. In fact, we’re pretty sure we KNOW the answer to that.

I won’t call them TERRIBLE yet, but we are clearly in the TWOs. Some of Zoe’s favorite (and our LEAST favorite) new phrases:

  • I don’t want to _______!
  • NOOOOO, don’t do that!
  • I want to do it all by myself!
  • WAIT! WAIT! (this one happens as we’re walking out of the room & she’s supposed to go night-night)
  • Stop singing! No talking!
  • I want that!
  • I NEED that!
  • That’s mine!

If only you could have seen how quickly I typed out that list, you’d know just how much I love each and every phrase above. You’d also be proud to know that following most phrases above, I take a deep breath and say, “We don’t say that, Zoe. How do we ask…” And in fairness, she will generally take the high road and carefully and articulately say “I would like…” or “No thank you” or something a big girl might say. She IS a good kid. But man, this part is hard.

When she first started saying “I don’t want to…” we were a) thankful she wasn’t saying NO! and b) frantically trying to figure out how to get her to STOP saying that. In a moment of (supposed) clarity, I decided to tell her I was going to charge her 25 cents every time she said that. She paused. And then I captured this exchange on VIDEO:


So, needless to say, that tactic has not worked out yet. For the first few times we did it, she DID stop saying it – it made her think. But I guess the fact she has no concept of money, coupled with the fact she REALLY wants her way, both make it likely she’ll owe us a million dollars over the next 10 years but unlikely it will have any impact at all on her behavior. In fact, the way we’re headed, she’ll be smarter than we are in 3 years and she’ll find a way to turn that fee around on us…

Speaking of which, last night we were sitting at dinner with Bart’s parents after a long week of work, when Zoe emphatically said (with hand outstretched in front of her in a STOP sign and furrowed brow), “STOP TALKING everybody!”

With glass of wine in hand, I giggled and said calmly, “Zoe, I hate to break it to you, but you’re not in charge here. That guy’s in charge.” (and I pointed to Bart) Again, she paused, thinking that through, and of course, we continued talking.

Flash forward 2 hours, when she’s NOT wanting to go to bed and Daddy has been in her room twice negotiating and explaining why IT IS night-night time and she needs to go to sleep. He leaves the room again, and she’s quiet for about 10 minutes. Then she starts yelling, “DADDY! (pause) DADDY! (pause) I’M IN CHARGE! DADDY, I’M IN CHARGE!” And I’m not kidding.

If you’ve ever been a parent sitting in bed in an adjoining room earnestly listening for signs of SLEEP from your child’s room (honestly, I wish we had that scene on video), you’ll have a great mental picture of Bart and I sitting in our bed, and me bursting out laughing (quietly, into a pillow, of course). Sure, I started this, but I couldn’t have set that up better. I mean, what if I’d said I was in charge? That would have been much LESS funny. ;)

Anyway, we consider ourselves lucky that she didn’t start these “TWOs” early, like some kids do. And we consider ourselves MOSTLY lucky that she’s a super smart kid who can usually be persuaded to turn that frown upside down. But did I mention, this part is HARD. Any advice you have for us is MUCH appreciated.

2 thoughts on “Who’s in Charge?

  1. Those are all wonderful ideas. You are a wonderful Mom & Bart is a wonderful Dad. Zoe is blessed to have you two!!! Love Nina

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