And when she is good, she is very, very good and when she is bad, she is horrid!
Ah the blessed three-year-old stage. The tantrums of yesteryear have faded and in their place are cunning and strategic dialogues between a parent and a child, read: myself and my middle child, Minnie.
Corporal punishment is out. These days, parenting is all about negotiation, time-outs and consequences. And so, rational, verbal exchanges are all I've got to work with, and that's pretty tricky when my three-year-old hasn't quite reached the level of maturity required for the conversations... or is it that she has well and truly surpassed this level of exchange? See below example:
"Minnie, if you continue to write on the table, I will take away your textas."
"You can take them, Mum. I don't want them anyway."
"Minnie, pick up your blanket off the ground, or I will put it in the wash."
"Just put it in the wash, Mum."
"Minnie, it's time to come out of time-out now. "
"No. I don't want to. Go away."
You see, I've got nothing. She leaves me speechless. Consequences are inconsequential and time-outs cause a role-reversal where she forces me away. The rest of the day is more of the same. See below:
"Minnie, let's look at some different clothes, too much pink can look silly at times."
"I'm not silly."
"I know, I'm talking about the clothes...oh, just wear whatever you want. I give up."
And I have given up, on clothes anyway. It is extremely hard to teach an obstinate child about the delicate balance of matching, complementing and contrasting colours in an outfit. It's hard enough teaching them to wear a jacket on a cold day.
Everything is a battle of wills right now.
"Get my drink bottle, Mum."
"Why don't you go over to the coffee table and bring it back."
"No. You get it."
"I think you need to ask nicely."
"Hmm." Note silence as I begrudgingly picked bottle up.
I think I'm meant to be embracing my child's new-found independence, her ability to speak her mind and her forthright nature.
Instead, I'm longing for the days when children were seen and not heard.