4/27/09

Am I smarter than a three year old?

Monday~April 27th, 2009

"Stop staring at me! You just keep staring and staring without saying anysing! STOP IT!"

Those were the words from my three year old, being fired at me like bullets, a glare in his eyes. I stood there and thought about how right he was. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do, so I was just staring him down, waiting for his tantrum to stop, hoping my eyes would make it stop. My words sure weren't working, they were only making it worse.

I said "You're right. I don't know why I'm staring. I don't know what else to do." Then I walked away, wondering if God was getting a good laugh right about then. After all, I once thought I had all the answers. I once thought my child would never do that.

That is pretty funny.

Lately more and more people have been giving me that look, shaking their heads and saying things about how articulate Miles is, what an amazing vocabulary he has, and pointing out how abstract his thinking seems to be. And since I'm as biased as any mother, I totally agree with them. Somewhere in my mind I think he's gifted and talented and a genius and all that. Even though with common sense, I know that's true of every child. They all have their own unique gifts, in all different areas.

So can I tell you a little secret? I'm terrified of Miles' ability to relate, understand feelings, and navigate conversation to get what he wants.

It's uncanny really. It happens in nearly every conversation we have throughout the day, "Well, Mom...we can always just not watch TV later." Or, "Well, Mom. It's OK because if it gets dirty, we can use that cleaner in the blue bottle and then wash it in the machine." Or, "Well, MOM! How 'bout if we don't wait to go outside, but we go now and then later, when we come in I will help you do all the cleaning, how 'bout that?" (all with a cheesy grin and major hand motions.)

A couple of nights ago my dear friend Kate and her two kiddos came over. The kids were in the (fenced in) backyard, playing, while Kate and I finished dinner. I would pop out the back door to check on them every few minutes, and they were always just fine, digging in the dirt or some such thing. After about four or five times, Miles asked (in an exasperated teen tone), "Mom, WHY do you keep checking on yus? We're playing safely!" To which I said, "Because it's my job, I want to be sure you're OK." And then, get this,

"Well, Mom. If I were your mom, I would just know if you were OK or not, I would just be able to tell, even without looking. I wouldn't have to check on me."

He was persuading me in such a way, that for a moment, I questioned my maternal gut instincts. It was like the whole staring argument. I find myself standing around so often, stumped at how to respond. I mean, of course I know that I should keep checking on a three year old in the back yard whether he likes it or not, but for just a second I stood with my mouth open, wondering if I should just be able to navigate the situation from inside the house, no peeking, using nothing but my instincts. And then I stopped gawking, turned to go in the house and laughed my head off. (I believe that's what every mother should do anytime she's stumped, it makes us look like loads of fun. Or crazy. Whichever.)

Miles would make a really good defense attorney one day, confusing the opposition with his, "If I were you...," leading the jury to that moment of introspection that gives them the reasonable doubt.

I'm in so much trouble.

Do you know what's getting harder for me to remember because of all of this? He's still a baby, still so dependent, still needing so much nurturing. He might act like he doesn't need me, but I know I'm the one he wants when he falls down. I know I'm who he looks for when he's hungry, cold, thirsty, or tired. So I'll enjoy that while I have the chance.

After all, I doubt he'll need me quite so much when he's a hostage negotiator.

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I hope you'll notice the new button in my sidebar. It's a link to Megan of KnuckleHeaders, the lovely lady who designed my blog. I realize that yesterday I really made it sound like I did this all by myself, but I simply meant I was now moving things around and that I hired someone to do it. I did not do it. (I am totally not capable of doing it.) All credit for the actual design and it's appearance here goes to Megan. And if you don't mind me saying so, she did an amazing job!

50 clicked right here to comment:

K and/or K said...

Miles is a country mile ahead it seems!

Kristina P. said...

You are going to have a long 15 years ahead of you!

Abra said...

Keep feeding that kid imagination - he's becoming a wonderful person!

sara said...

oh I am envisioning some very creative excuses for why he is late for curfew!!! :)

LisAway said...

Oh man, that is so funny. He had you questioning your maternal instincts. HA! Good thing you're raising him with decent morals or that kid would be a most excellent con man. Or maybe he really does have some Darren Brown type special powers (not sure if American's know who that is. . .)

Greg just looked over from across the room and said, "Oh, that's cool." and then made a little motion and sound effect like he was pulling at the sides of your layout to cause the pointy outie parts.

MidnightCafe said...

Well, he's very creative. Very. I love the way logic works for little kids.

Jillene said...

Can you imagine what it's going to be like when he is a teenager? I worry about that everyday!!

Carrie said...

Oh, my goodness, he sounds so smart and precocious! 3 is my favorite age to teach...my son is only one, and I'm looking forward to getting to know him as a preschooler. :)

Octamom said...

Lawyer, politician, theologian...these are all things I can reasonably see in Miles's future...wow. I would definitely have to up my caffeine consumption even more were he to live in my house...and I'd have to take notes...and probably keep a tape recorder going so I could review the double entendres.....

Blessings!
p.s.---LOVE the new digs!

mama-face said...

Coming from an OLDER perspective...(with 2 boys)

That boy will ALWAYS look for you when he's hungry, cold, needs a hug, etc. No matter how smart and clever he is and becomes. And it is wonderful.

Angela said...

This line gave me goosebumps:

"So can I tell you a little secret? I'm terrified of Miles' ability to relate, understand feelings, and navigate conversation to get what he wants."

Why? Because you can substitute the name Miles for the name Xylie. I soooo get this. No words of wisdom, but I get this...and I think you are an amazing mom.

Angela said...

This line gave me goosebumps:

"So can I tell you a little secret? I'm terrified of Miles' ability to relate, understand feelings, and navigate conversation to get what he wants."

Why? Because you can substitute the name Miles for the name Xylie. I soooo get this. No words of wisdom, but I get this...and I think you are an amazing mom.

Sheryl said...

love that little guy!! what a mind. obviously God has gifted him with those "reasoning" skills for a purpose. right now that purpose is to frustrate you and make you pull your hair out!! enjoy.

That Girl in Brazil said...

Well. I feel better. (Which I do every time I read your blog, but most especially today.)

Cuz my eldest is the EXACT SAME.

You CANNOT argue or stand your ground with this kid. He just manipulates everything to the way he wants it. And he does a dang good job.

Yeah - if you figure that out, let me know.

Debbie said...

Oh yeah. I have gathered this about him from our little email conversations! Now, he can use that gift for the good guys or he can go over to the dark side with it! Let's sit back and see what happens:)

Jen said...

your story here so reminds me of my Hayden. He often makes me stop in my tracks with some of the things that he says. And you are right, you just need to laugh at it.

Shantel said...

Thats when I pull out "the stick: and start wackin'. Kidding. I wish it were that simple.
Great story. You have quite and little guy there.

Mylestones said...

Most definitely yes, you're smarter than a 3 yr old, and FWIW, he's apparently a REALLY smart 3 yr old, so that's saying something!! Seriously, I can't believe he's only three? And he's already coming up with so much to challenge you with!

If it makes you feel any better, I've had the exact same experience where I just stand there staring, having no earthly idea what to say or where to begin. Like the time this weekend when my 4 yo told me "stop arguing with me about this mom. I already told you what I was going to do." Duh, what???

Muthering Heights said...

LOL, he's too smart for his own good!

happygeek said...

Gotta love it when they leave you scratching your head and puzzling. Who said this mommin' thing was easy?

Melanie J said...

Hostage negotiator. Ha,ha,ha. And if I didn't say it yesterday, I really like the new look.

Lee of MWOB said...

Okay. First things first, your new blog design RULES!!!! I absolutely love it. It's perfect and very you. Right. On.

Second, you are smarter than your three-year-old but I am not. You seem to be handling things with your brilliant little lawyer just fine. The staring thing and all. I would have been yelling and really feeling stupid.

You just have GOT to love these gems. These kids.

:-)

a Tonggu Momma said...

This is the Tongginator. This is absolutely the Tongginator. I now have abandoned all hope and fall back on the three things I swore I would never say.

"Because I'm the mom."
"Because I said so."
"End of discussion."

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Poor Heather!

I have to admit - I'm kind of on the opposite end of this wondering if my just turned four year old will ever catch up to his peers and start holding real conversations with me... But I can see how unnerving it would be to have your baby talking circles around you!

Miles will be the philosopher in the family.

charrette said...

I'm raising three little hostage negotiators of my own. If only one of them would actually go to law school...

And I have to say, it's not easy staying even one step ahead of them...even when they were three!

I love Miles!

charrette said...

And of course I love Miles's Mom.
But apparently I think that goes without saying!

CaJoh said...

That gives new meaning to the phrase "from the mouths of babes". Wow, quite the observant type. He will make a great salesman or teacher someday.

Kelline said...

Kids say the darnest things, don't they? I can't recall how many times my kids have stumped me speechless.

Kim said...

We should NEVER get Miles and Seth together, they would be a force to be reckoned with. The things he says reminds me so much of my not so little boy. Eek.

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

Here's hoping you can keep up with your little "hostage negotiator" in the years to come.

Becky said...

I would love to give you good news right now, but it gets worse. Mine turns five next month, and I swear, I'm the biggest idiot you've ever seen when he whips out his kid logic. Luckily, he doesn't seem to think so.

Maybe this is training for the teenage years, when we won't know anything at all.

Kazzy said...

We want our kids to be brilliant, just not when they are taking a position opposite to ours! LOL

Angie said...

My oldest is just like your Miles, and as he has gotten older, I have LOVED just sitting and having conversations with him. I've learned that when he gets "uppity" with me, often he just needs to know two things: I love him and Mommy is still in charge. :)

I have also found that with those strong wills come some very sensitive spirits. And my Asher and your Miles will grow up to be some very good leaders.

Growin' with it! said...

so, the first part of this post made me cringe a little BECAUSE i'm like that. if i'm throwing a tantrum (hypothetically OF COURSE) it ticks me off even more if my hubby's standing there staring at me.

well, i'll just say this heather...maybe he'll get this all out and by the time he's a teenager you'll both know what to do!?

these free spirited boys of ours...oh i just LOVE 'em and i'm grateful that God made them this way even if it makes me struggle as a mommy.

Heather@WoolandFlax said...

Wow, I completely understand...Miles reminds me so much of my 5-year-old. I love the "laugh your head off" technique. I'll have to try that.

Eowyn said...

I'm also going to try the laugh your head off technique. Sometimes there's no other answer.

I'm scared my kids are waaaay smarter than me. The things my kids say. . .

I like you. Did you know that?

Eowyn said...

Also, I know I haven't been commenting, but I love the new look. I totally read the IKEA article. I'm all caught up and, yes, I still like you! :)

Mammatalk said...

Oh, boy. That child is a genius. Absolutely!

Peanut said...

I thought this would get easier when they could express their thoughts and feelings... I had no idea how much harder it would be. KK is a few month younger, so her vocabulary isn't quite up there with Miles' but man! can she negotiate! It's really keeping us on our toes right now. And it's freaking me out!!

Kimberly said...

Umm...by the sounds of things? He may be, really and truly, gifted. Wow. I don't think I've got that good a handle on things and I'm about ten times his age.

Is it wrong for me to hope my kids aren't TOO clever?

3 Bay B Chicks said...

You're beautiful! Or, maybe I should say that your blog is beautiful. Well, you two are kind of the same thing, right?

Or maybe I should try to be as clever as you are and say, write?

Oh hell, I'm just impressed. I'll stop gushing now.

-Francesca

radioactive girl said...

My 5 year old is scary smart like that too. It makes me proud and fearful all at once.

MoziEsmé said...

Well, he's got a few career options open to him!

It's interesting - I know sometimes when my 2yo argues with me or refuses to do something, I feel like just letting it go - she's free to make her own choices and reap the consequences. Nothing obviously life-threatening, but things where she could hurt herself or get sick. Then I have to remind myself that she is still dependent on me, still a baby, as you say. And when she reaps the consequences on something, I still need to comfort her even though "I told her so."

Love your design, by the way.

kel said...

ok, first of all..your blog looks awesome!!!! So pretty and springy!!

and you are so right... Miles is going to be an awesome negotiator or lawyer... or maybe a psychologist... he can twist some words around, can't he??

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Wow! Great post. I'm right there with ya. My Jay's middle names could be "articulate manipulation'...

Love ya Heather!

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

I think I was your son at that age. The good news: I survived to adulthood and have not yet killed myself jumping off a roof (not that I didn't try...).

The bad news: I bet HE thinks you're not smarter than him. I was blessed with 2 kids just like me/him. Arguing with them is like arguing with a crazy person. Logic and rational thought are dismissed in favor of completely crazy (and often very entertaining) reasons why they should have their way.

And like you, they cause me to doubt myself ALL THE TIME. And the longer I let the argument go, the more I question myself.

Like Tonggu Mama, I rely on 'because I said so' now. It truly is the ONLY way to win/end the argument.

Good luck with that one. Just know that you're not alone. My mom raised me, and she only twitches a little now...

Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Heather,

LOVE.LOVE.LOVE the new digs!

Rebecca said...

Love your new wallpaper!

I had to laugh at this post. You know it's bad when they have you questioning your mommy instincts. Funny you should use the "hostage negotiator" line, because I said that about my eldest this week. He actually talked my 7 year old into letting me pull his loose front teeth.

I'll have to blog about that one.

Daisy said...

Three is such a fun age! I love when their logic starts to catch up with their verbal skills and actually make sense. Your little one is way ahead of the game!

Tooj said...

It's sometimes hard to remember they NEED us when they start sounding so sure of themselves and acting like they can do everything, know everything....it all begins in toddlerhood. Crazy. I just keep stealing my kisses. It's what I'll miss the most.

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