I haven’t posted about Meg in awhile, at least, not directly. She’s not quite two-and-a-half yet, but we’re already dealing with the wheels inside her head turning.
You know, the wheels trying to streamroll you…
Maybe a month ago, give or take, we noticed Meg starting to stall quite a bit. Stalling before bedtime, stalling to get her clothes on to go to school, stalling to come inside, and so on. This isn’t just a “ooooo, something shiny!” kind of distraction: this is an intentional, and deliberate attempt to slow down the inevitable. She knows what’s coming and uses her cuteness to delay just about anything we need to do. She’s gotten quite good at this as well, working it in so you hardly notice you’re allowing her to stall you into another song, or another story, or another cracker, or another drink of milk.
Furthermore, and more recently, she’s begun “negotiating.” This one is a bit more rudimentary, I think, where she doesn’t really get the finer points of haggling, but you can tell she’s thinking it through. Especially before bed, when she asks for “3 books,” specifically, knowing that “3” is more than “2,” let alone “1,” so if she asks for more, she’s more likely to get what she asks, or at least an extra book beyond the one we usually read her. The same thing goes for songs, as we sometimes sing to (or with) her before bed. We’ll say “one more song,” we’ll sing it, and then she’ll ask for another, specific, song.
She’s also been known to ask for “moneys for ma ewefan-t” [elephant], a mechanical bank that makes an elephant noise when you add a coin to it. “Three moneys!,” she’ll say. So yes, I’m already having to bribe my child. Thankfully, at this point, she doesn’t really know the difference between a penny and a quarter…
When any of these things don’t work, however, she’s begun throwing fits, though now, it’s a little easier to stop them (to a degree…it’s never “easy”…). Meg doesn’t cry, per se, but she definitely yells. Loudly. Now, I end up having to count to five and threaten a time out…and right around “four,” she stops.
So yeah, my nearly 2.5-year-old is “gaming the system.” I guess I wasn’t expecting such things until she was at least three, if not four.
In some ways, of course, it’s nice to see this in a kid her age. She’s learning to challenge authority, to question things, to problem solve, to “get around The System.” At its core, it’s simple adaptation: where you learn you don’t have to simply accept what’s happening in front of you and you can attempt to change it, or at least influence it.
I guess I just didn’t expect it in a nearly 2.5-year-old.
She could teach some adults out there a thing or two about adaptation. 🙂