I don’t consider myself to be a stupid, naive or easily manipulated person.
I’m wise to scams – particularly after that £1million I was promised from a long lost relative in Nigeria never turned up – and I think I’m quite a good judge of character.
And yet I find myself being outwitted by two small children pretty much every day.
On the face of it they’re pretty primitive.
They sit in their own wee and poo for lengthy periods of time without notifying anyone of the situation.
They can’t control their emotions.
They frequently cry and throw themselves to the ground in fits of rage because they wanted the red crayon.
They don’t know how to get themselves to sleep.
They can’t walk in a straight line.
When they do walk they frequently bang into stuff.
They appear for all intents and purposes to be like drunken sports fans at the end of a heavy day during which they’ve seen their team lose.
But I think my two kids are playing me for a fool.
Here’s the evidence:
Feeding my baby
When my eight-month-old has decided she isn’t up for the lovely mushed up stuff that I’ve lovingly cooked for her she pretends to be distracted by all manner of things in the room. She stares at the floor, her hands, the high chair’s legs, the wall.
I say her name repeatedly to get her attention back on me. She pretends to not understand.
And yet when I ask “do you want a drink of water”, her eyes snap back to me and her mouth opens. After she’s had a sip, she’s back to staring. Then I decide maybe she just wants a bit of pudding and pull the yoghurt out of the fridge, suddenly her attention is back on me again.
My toddler knows when I’m trying to get something done. She’s sussed out when I’m racing around the kitchen dumping pasta in pans while stirring sauce and checking on meat in the oven.
Or she knows when I’m trying to get the floors cleaned in a rush because someone is coming over and they may not want to walk on the lovely pile of vomit the cat has just produced in the centre of the room.
It’s these moments that she picks to ask to watch her favourite cartoons. She times it to perfection every time. She seems to sense I’m more likely to say yes, just to get her to sit down and be quiet for 10 minutes.
If you open a packet of biscuits in the kitchen with the door shut, while everyone else is upstairs, my toddler will still hear what’s going on and demand to share.
She’s turned into some kind of hunter gatherer-type who is constantly on the lookout for her next snack or meal. When I open the fridge door to get something, she’s there in a flash having a nose inside to see what we have.
Then if she asks for an olive, cheese or whatever other random demand she cooks up and I say we don’t have any, she can fire back with “yes we do, they’re in the fridge”. It’s scary how the little white lies are no longer working anymore.
This is where the tricks are really being refined to perfection.
My toddler ups the ante at this time of day. Some would say it’s because she’s overtired. But I think she just knows its the best way to stay up a bit later.
When it comes to tidying up the lounge, she finds any trick she can to prolong the entire process. Instead of taking the Lego house she built and chucking it in the Lego box, she has to take each individual brick apart. Is this OCD or does she know this gives her at least another five minutes?
Then when you get her upstairs she knows to pick the longest book. She also knows when you skip a page, and likes to point out various items of interest in a picture. This is fine of course, I’m thrilled she loves her books so much. But it’s when she’s said “that dragon’s got a golden star” for the sixth time that I start to get suspicious.
Is it curiosity, or is it time-wasting?
Both my kids were born with a sixth sense. A magical power of premonition that alerts them to when their mum or dad is about to put them down in their cot.
They can sense it just as I think now is the time to try. They’ve been sleeping peacefully for 15 minutes, so surely they won’t notice a crafty and slick move to get them in bed?
My baby noticed every time and let me know, loudly, this wasn’t going to fly with her. I firmly believe it was only when she decided to give in to sleeping in the bed that she started doing so.
So I’m writing this now while I still have time, before the kids overthrow my authority completely and take over my house. It’s only a matter of time if they’re already outsmarting me in several key areas.
These mini masterminds are crafty, who knows what they will do next. Today it’s the food in the fridge, tomorrow it’s an entire display of pick ‘n’ mix. World domination cannot be too far off.
Are you kids smarter than they let on? Do you ever catch them in little ploys to get what they want? I would love to hear from you.