My one-year-old is a lot of things ... but dammit, she's got one strong moral compass. She believes what she believes, and I respect her for it!
The problem is, she insists on enforcing her beliefs on me, even though I don't agree with most of them. I think it's a really unfair and shitty thing to do, but no matter how many times I explain that to her, she just doesn't seem to get it. Maybe someday, right?
Here are a few of her more hard-line beliefs that she insists on enforcing against me:
NO JACKETS IN THE HOUSE
She is always taking off her own jacket, but hey, that's her right. (no it's not, Audrey, YOU'RE JUST A BABY AND IT'S THIRTY DEGREES OUTSIDE. YOU NEED TO WEAR A JACKET)
But the other day, I was a bit cold in the living room so I grabbed my zippered hoodie jacket off the arm of the couch and put it on. I didn't zip it up or anything; just put my arms through it and went back to the book we were reading.
Audrey would have none of it. She refused to sit back on my lap and return to the book. Instead, she stood in front of me making a grumpy face and tugging my sweatshirt down off my shoulder.
At first, I thought that maybe she was just trying to play with the string that tightens the hood? But no, she was definitely trying to take the jacket off me. She pulled it down, I pulled it back up. She grunted in disapproval and started to pull it down again.
Eventually, I gave up and started to remove the coat. This made her happy again, and she helped me take my arms out. Once it was off, she picked it up and carried it to the laundry room, throwing it on the floor. No indoor jackets on my watch, Mommy.
NO TOUCHING CERTAIN THINGS
Her rules on this one are both arbitrary and incredibly frustrating. We'll be at the grocery store together, with her sitting in the cart shouting and throwing stuff on the ground like a normal happy kid, and then all of a sudden she's grabbing my hand and trying to take it off the cart handle. Like she's suddenly decided that the cart handle belongs to her, and I can't touch it without her permission.
There's just one problem, Audrey: I CAN'T PUSH THE EFFING CART WITHOUT TOUCHING IT NOW CAN I??!?
She doesn't care about that, though. She will just keep trying to take my hand off the cart handle, and I'll keep putting it back, and she'll keep getting pissed, and that's just how our life is now.
Even more baffling is that she sometimes doesn't want my hands on my own phone when we are playing a game on it. I'll be holding the phone in front of her face as she plays Peekaboo Sesame Street, and suddenly she'll be tugging at my fingers on the edge of the phone, as if they are offending her. So I move the finger that is pissing her off, but it has to be replaced by another finger somewhere else because my phone doesn't just levitate through magic, Audrey, but then the new finger pisses her off and she starts poking at that one instead.
It has gotten to the point where sometimes, while playing Peekaboo Sesame Street, I have to grip the phone carefully with my knuckles while supporting the back of it and keeping my hands out of sight. Because she wants to sit on my lap and play a game that I bought for her on my phone, but if she can so much as see a single one of my fingers she is just going to blow a f***ing gasket.
NO OPENING THE CABINETS
Audrey loves opening cabinets and going 'shopping' for toys among whatever dangerous cleaning chemicals are contained within (we put the actual dangerous cleaning chemicals up out of reach, don't worry. I don't think a few Lysol wipes ever killed anyone).
But apparently, this privilege is reserved for her alone. If she's nearby and I try to open a cabinet, she will close it immediately. Immediately. She will close it on my hand if needed, and then give me this dirty look like "you know you're not supposed to be in there."
She is also rather fanatical about the refrigerator door. You'd think she's the one paying the electricity bill or something. It's fine to open the fridge for a moment, but if you want to hold it open while you stand in front of it debating what you want to snack on, you'll have Audrey to deal with. She leans her full weight into both hands as she pushes it closed, which is pretty damned effective. Bonus efficacy points because if I wanted to reopen it, I'd have to knock her over to do so.
The bright side is that I really think about what I want before I open the fridge, though, which I guess is good for the environment. Thanks, Audrey.
YOU HAVE TO SHARE WHATEVER YOU'RE EATING
This is just a no-brainer. It doesn't matter what I'm eating -- it could be ghost peppers straight out of a 500-degree oven and she'd still demand that I share with her.
Even giving her her own serving doesn't usually help. The other day, I cut up a banana with some bran flakes in a little baby bowl and gave it to her. I then poured myself a bowl of the exact same, the only difference being that mine had milk on it too. Audrey immediately climbed into my lap on the floor, facing me, and started shoving her fingers into my bowl to pull out pieces of banana. She had her own helping of banana, but she only wanted to steal mine.
I ended up pouring the entire contents of her baby bowl into my bowl because clearly, she wasn't interested in eating her own food. She ate at least 60% of the banana slices.
Also, the other day, I had a moment of weakness and got some fast food french fries on the way home from the grocery store. Audrey spent the next thirty minutes walking around with a french fry gripped tightly in each hand. She didn't even want to eat them; she just wanted to have them because I was having them and she wasn't about to just let that happen.
And don't even get me started on how much of my black bean chocolate muffin she ate. WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE SHARING THAT, AUDREY. SHARING IT.
When I was a kid, I was always so annoyed when my mom would take french fries or a chicken nugget from my Happy Meal. Now I understand it, though. It's just payback for all the shit I probably stole from her when I was a baby.
Eventually, I hope Audrey learns that everyone else doesn't have to follow her moral code. I can open cabinets, wear jackets, and push shopping carts whenever I like, and that's just something she's gonna have to deal with.
But if she never learns that lesson, then god help us all when she goes through her teenage "meat is murder" phase, or when she starts ranting about the dangers of 'binge drinking' as I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. If she's anywhere near as stubborn about it as she is now, it's going to be WWIII up in our house.
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