Sunday, October 16, 2005

Y'all Talk Back Now, Ya Hear!

Sweetie is fast approaching her 3rd birthday. Well, more so in attitude than in time, actually. With 2 months to go until the official day, she is certainly getting in her "Terrible Three's" practice time nice and early, so that by the time she actually hits the date she'll be a certified "Drama Queen". (I like that title - let's go with that. It's much better than "brat" or "Hell on wheels". After all, she's already got the hot pink shirt emblazed with the Drama Queen title right across her chest.)

So, what exactly is Sweetie doing lately to practice for her year of drama? Well, besides from her strong will and independent nature, for over a month now she's been telling people (Grammy, her cousins, me, whoever...) "Don't talk to me." "Don't look at me." and "Don't tell me." Whether or not said offenders are actually talking, looking or telling her anything, it doesn't matter.

I find she's particularly grumpy in the morning and/or right after a nap. I've also considered that it may be a jealousy thing when it comes to her attitude toward her one cousin in particular. My niece is currently living with my parents while she's at college. So Sweetie may be jealous of someone else taking Nana's attention away from her. Not that my niece demands that much attention or anything, but she's someone "new" in the house sometimes where there's usually only Sweetie and Nana

These are not excuses for her behavior, mind you. I'm just trying to work it out for myself what would possess my sweet little girl to start regularly talking back to people and being so contrary. I suppose I maybe can't reason it out - it's simply her age and the stage she's going through.

(Funny side note: at one point when I was visiting with my mom and niece, Sweetie started being rude. My mom tried to reassure me that Sweetie will get over herself in time and that this was just a phase. So, what does Sweetie do, but put her hands on her hips, stuck out her chin and informed her cousin that "It's just a phase, Abby. It's just a phase." In spite of ourselves, we all of course laughed. It's so difficult to teach about manners and not being rude when you're laughing at your child's defiant attitude and posturing. Ugh!)

Anyway, it turns out she's not just talking back to people. No, my daughter finds it necessary to tell both the songs on the radio and the commercials on T.V. that she doesn't want to do whatever they're suggesting either. For example, the new version of "Listen To Your Heart" recently played on our car radio as we were heading off somewhere. There Sweetie was in the back seat saying, "No, I don't want to listen to my heart!". And not just once, but every time that line repeated throughout the whole song. As for T.V. commercials, I can't think of a specific example right now, but I know she's plainly announced to the set on at least a couple occasions that she didn't want to buy or do whatever it was that was being advertised at the moment. My husband and I constantly have to remind her that "It's just a song, Sweetie." or "It's just a commercial - you don't have to do anything." But this doesn't seem to appease her. Again - ugh!

Sweetie is also very much in the "mine, mine, mine." frame of mind. When visiting friends recently, she was happily playing with the ride-on toy that they have for their 1 year old son. Whenever this little boy came over to her, though, Sweetie was all about "no, baby, this is mine!". NOT so cool at all. (What was somewhat interesting, though, was when this same little boy was looking at my walking stick, trying to figure out what it was, Sweetie quickly piped in her 2 cents that "No, baby, that's my mommy's stick. Don't touch mommy's stick." Cute that she was "sticking up for me", not cute that she felt it her business to be so bossy.)

So, what can we do? We've talked to her about good manners and sternly told her when she's being rude that she needs to be nice to people. We've also tried to ignore it, thinking not giving her any added attention over this might make her attitude quickly revert back to the sweet demeanor she usually has. And I've been looking for Veggie Tales videos and/or other children's shows that might discuss the importance of good behavior and being nice to others. But when all is said and done, I'm afraid I might have to just admit that this is in fact a phase she's going through and that she'll work through it in time.

I just hope she works through it sooner rather than later. I don't know if I can deal with a whole year of this 'tude.

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