“Mommy, I collected $100 for Pennies for Patients for my class!” exclaims my daughter as she bounds off the bus one day.
“Really?” I say skeptically, realizing that even though she hit up her grandparents and her aunts and uncles over brunch for spare change and extra dollars for the school fundraising cause, it seems highly unlikely that she even scourged together $20 in that small little collection box.
“Are you sure you collected $100?” I follow-up with.
“MOM! I SAID I collected $15!” she declares indignantly.
“Okay, great. That sounds right, I’m sure that will help your class win the Pizza Party. $15 is great!”
“MOM – why aren’t you listening! Mrs. Parker said maybe it was $14.”
Does she have a future in accounting, like her father, I begin to wonder. As she runs me in circles with her tales of fundraising, I start to wonder if I’m the only parent that can’t get a story straight with a six-year-old. Or maybe she is right and I am the one who is confused here. She seems so confident in her responses…
Then there’s the three-year-old. She is further proof that I am failing in my ability to retrieve substantive information. Or rather, perhaps the truth is, how we define substantive information is defined quite differently.
“Why did you go poopie in your pants?” I asked her recently when she had an accident despite being months past that point.
“Because I went poopie in my pants,” she matter-of-factly states.
“Why did you cry at school today?” I ask her when I picked her up from preschool and her teacher noted she got emotional.
“Because I cried,”‘ she responds plainly.
“Why did you wake up before the sun got up today?”
“Because I waked up,” she says, almost annoyed that I am wasting everyone’s time with such lame questions.
WHY do I keep asking WHY? And yet I do. I fall for it every time.
Here we are, knee-deep in the three-year-old phase of responding to a question by re-stating the question. And the six-year-old phase of fooling you into thinking they know what they are talking about but really they don’t, they just have more language skills than a three-year-old, so you start to actually believe they do know. Something. Anything.
Here’s my other favorite with the
Kindergartener Teen in Training:
“Who did you sit next to at lunch today?”
“I don’t remember,” she says with an annoyed tone.
“Okay, well, who did you play with during recess?”
“I don’t remember,” she repeats again, totally ignoring moi.
“Umm, should I take you to the doctor because these things just happened 3 hours ago and you should probably be able to remember.”
Then I revise my strategy. Perhaps it’s my fault, I am approaching the questions the wrong way, let me ask more specific questions, by first warming her up.
“Did you like your lunch today?”
Okay, I am thinking, so she doesn’t suffer from amnesia. She DOES, in fact, remember eating lunch, well enough to know she liked it.
“Did you have reading groups today?”
Okay, more specific questions work with a six-year-old, I am feeling victorious, I am making progress, I am showing interest in her day and placing an importance on her education by asking her questions. The experts should be SO proud of me.
“What did you read during reading groups, was it interesting?”
“Mom, I don’t remember.”
STONEWALLED at six.
Given answers by re-stating the question at 3.
I am raising a politician and living with a teen, apparently.
Tell me I am not alone.
To learn top secret interrogation techniques that are proven to work, and other such parenting tricks, be sure to “Like” the WM FB page.