Sunday, December 25, 2005

Toddler Logic

Is there any such thing? Isn't the phrase "toddler logic" an oxymoron? Jumbo shrimp, government intelligence, comfortable underwire, toddler logic.

Toddler logic. You've seen it in action in grocery stores, I'm sure. Employed by toddlers driven by a fundamental need to be up, eat cookies, have juice, get that toy, annoy the dog, be in Sister's room, whatever. It's a genetic defect at the most basic of cellular levels, so there's no spanking it out of them. Especially in this day and age of "*gasp* that lady just spanked that angel of a child!" Barf.

Every toddler makes it his enterprise to get his way by any means necessary, obstacles and nay-sayers be damned. The Marine Corps has "Semper Fi" and toddlers have "I want what I want when I want it!" It's their battle cry. And emblazoned on their crest and boldly declared on their flag are the words "If at first you don't succeed... you aren't loud enough!"

Toddler logic - no means ask again. No means ask louder. No means ask repeatedly. No is actually an invitation to brush up on your negotiation skills. As a matter of fact, no is practically an answer in the affirmative. You may as well skip all the preliminaries and just say yes!

Um, no.

Take, for instance, the scene that unfolded in my kitchen a few days ago.

Jonah: "Uh up, Momma."

Me: "No baby, Momma is fixing lunch right now. I can't pick you up."


Jonah thinks to himself, "Did she just say no to me? I believe she just said no to me. Hm. Maybe I've forgotten something?... oh yeah!"

Jonah: "Pwease?" Big smile, blink-blink go the eyes. (Oh, I've been blinked at by bigger and better than you, pal.)

Me: "No son, I can't pick you up right now. As I told you, I'm fixing lunch. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup! You like cheese!"

Odd. She seems amazingly unaffected by my cuteness. I laid it on pretty thick with my signature blink-blink but elicited nary a twitch. *sniff sniff* My baby lotion is still fresh. Was it my smile? Not big enough? Maybe I have graham cracker in my teeth. She nearly distracted me with all her cheese talk, oh she's a clever old biddy. But I can't let the lure of the perfect grilled cheese take me off course. Hm. A different tack, perhaps?

Jonah (now tugging on my skirt): "Uh up, Momma. Uh up. Pwease Momma, up!"

Me (somehow managing to keep the cheese knife away from my fingers with all the skirt-tugging): "No honey. Momma is still making lunch. We'll sit down and read a story after lunch, okay?"


Maybe she didn't hear me? Does she know I'm down here? How does she manage to deny cute, lovable, persuasive little me? I dunno, but she's entirely too easy with her "no" and her "not now" business. It's maddening. I think it's time to ramp it up a bit.

Jonah (grunting, forcing his way between my legs and the cupboards, skull first which causes his face to be all stretched back towards his ears): "UP! UP Momma, UP!"

At this point I'm pressing my legs closer to the cabinet in an effort to stop his curly head from pushing through to the other side. I treat it like a gym workout - 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and breathe in, breathe out, suck it in 8. I've spent the last few years building up an immunity to whining so I can barely hear his skirt-muffled voice. Just as well, as I've decided to ignore him. After all, I think I've been pretty straight forward about why I'm not picking him up. I feel that I've explained myself clearly and concisely. I've used plain English, and I was careful not to use any big words. I see no reason to get into it again.

Alright, clearly I've underestimated my mother's ability to withstand the siren song of my comely cuteness. I see I'm dealing with a master here. I'll need to reach deep down and give it all I've got. Noise, brawn, cunning, everything. OK, deep breath...

Jonah: "UUUUUP! Up up up UUUUUUUUP!!!! Up up up up Uppy uppy uppy uppy uppy uppy uppy uppy UP Momma!"

Now he's hanging from my apron strings and crying the deep gutteral cry of the unfairly judged, the glibly dismissed, the smugly scorned, the mortally wounded. I look down at him and watch in amusement as Jonah descends fast and furious into a running-in-place slobbering fit. His mouth is wide open and his eyes are clamped shut. His tongue is hanging out of his mouth like a dog's. It's difficult to hold back my giggles but I manage to swat his fanny (just once - no cops, please) and set him in the Naughty Spot.

See what I mean? Toddler logic. Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

Say, isn't that one of the definitions of "insanity?"


cindy said...

haha! i find it hard not to laugh
during a melt down sometimes too. great post!

Anonymous said...

Pure genious!

Anonymous said...

ohhh my DD does this thing where she won't look at you or ignores you if you are telling her something she doesn't want to hear. She's 2 btw. OMG it bugs me sooo much, so last night I had her in my arms and was telling her to say sorry to me bc she threw something at me and she did it again, just looked away, and won't look at me. So I had to do the mom grabing your chin thing to her and Then she closed her eyes..... So I opened an eye for her...OMG the look on her face when I did that was great! I was laughing so hard, I couldnt' be mad at her anymore

Nov 03 BBC

Adrianne said...

Wow sounds like a scene straight from my house! Thanks for the humor!

Anonymous said...

The way you wrote it, he sounded so darn cute (really) that I wanted to reach in and pick him up. :)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else notice the similarity between toddler logic and HUSBAND logic? ;)


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