I think most parents like to believe that their children are smart, talented and advanced for their age.
When, really, it’s probably a genetic predisposition to ensure the preservation of our species. Otherwise, we might not keep them around on days filled with temper tantrums, hitting and pen marks on the couch.
Despite all that, I’m guilty of raving about my daughter’s advancements just like all moms. I have Allison’s most adorable pictures displayed on my desk at work and can’t wait to talk about her latest antics if the opportunity presents itself.
But a recent parenting adventure had me lamenting her smarts, not celebrating them.
Ever since we brought her home from the hospital, Allison has loved the water. Now, as a 2-year-old, she would spend all day in the tub if we and her skin would allow it.
It’s partially my fault.
Once, probably out of habit, I accidentally turned on the shower while getting her bath ready. It was a huge hit. I transformed an otherwise enjoyable activity into an addiction.
She suddenly thought our bathroom was a waterpark.
From then on, we’ve had a hard time explaining that she doesn’t need six showers a day. Occassionally I would give in just to stop the incessant begging, but that came to a screeching halt when our monthly water bill resembled a car payment.
After that, she started going to great lengths to convince us she needed a shower. Sometimes she throws her hands into the air announcing, “YAY! SHOWER TIME!” hoping we forget that it’s actually time for her nap.
Other times she declares that her toys are dirty, tosses them in the tub and says they need a shower. And, oh, by the way? You might as well toss me in there, too, Mom.
But my favorite tactic so far is one I wasn’t even around to witness.
Apparently she was begging and pleading with my husband for a shower, but when the answer was always no, she decided to change her approach.
Whether he felt badly for making her wait for her nightly bath or he really thought she wanted something to drink, I’m not sure.
All I know is that in the time it took him to put the cap back on the juice container and return it to the the fridge, she was getting the best of him.
He turned around to see her dumping the juice out of her sippy cup all over her head.
When he took it away from her and demanded an explanation, she simply put her hands down and looked at him sweetly.
If that’s what she’s doing at 2, I shudder to think about what she’ll be capable of at 14.
To me, that’s an extraordinary cognative connection for a 25-month-old, but unknowingly being outsmarted by a toddler is certainly nothing we’re bragging about.
One thing’s for sure: Parents really do need eyes in the back of their heads. Maybe that would ensure the preservation of our species even better.