Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Toddler despotism

It's come to my attention that Jamie has been planning a coup. It began with subtle requests, like 'Mum, I would like to eat a rice cake' and 'Mum, I would like to brush my teeth'. Both reasonable (if not virtuous) requests, easily accommodated. Reasonable demands gave way to reasonable but excessive demands like 'I would like one, two, three, four rice cakes' and 'I would like to brush my teeth again' (to be repeated everytime anyone goes into the bathroom).

Then came the behaviour modification regime. When bestowing a kiss or a cuddle, I would get 'No, not a big one, a little one' or its opposite 'No, not a little one, a big one', to keep me on my toes. I was wracked with self doubt... did he want a big one or a little one? I was never sure, and frequently wrong. He would come over and sprawl across my lap. 'Scratch my back', he'd say, 'No, not like that, like this. No, not there, here. That's it'. I began to question my very existence, how did I survive before Jamie? Had I been doing everything wrong for 29 years?

The tenuous balance of power in our house was wavering, Jamie got bold. 'No singing' became 'no talking'. 'Come here' became 'sit here'. Drunk with power, he made a final push to assert his authority. After ordering me to lie on the floor (so he could sit on my stomach of course), hardly glancing away from the TV, he said, 'Mum, lick my eyes'. Aghast with the suggestion, I said, 'Lick your eyes??!!' With no doubt showing on his face, he confirmed, 'Yes. Lick my eyes'. This had gone far enough, I thought, I better show him who's the adult here. Mustering all my maturity and eloquence I said 'Jamie, you're not my boss, stop bossing me about!' and so became a five year old. Still, that's two years older than him.

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