Scene 1: Fight with food

Somehow my younger four-year-old, Annu doesn’t want to eat. But she is scared as monster mummy may take that dreaded blue stick, and sometimes she even uses it on her. There is only one way left. Ask her something so sweetly, that she forgets about the use of the blue stick.

Thus she goes.

“Can you hug me, please?”

“I will hug you after you finish the breakfast “

**** again she starts thinking what to do to skip breakfast ***

“Can I feed you ?”


My younger always confuse between I and you.  So suppose if she asks you, “Can I feed you?” , then we should understand that what she really means is,

“Can you feed me?” (in proper meaning)

I didn’t realise this phenomenon during the initial days when it started ….

But then I soon found her questions turning more and more horrific…

If she is having breakfast and decided she had enough, then comes the first request.

“Mommy, can I feed you?” (if it were someone else other than me, they would have thought “wow! Such a nice girl!”)

Only I can understand what she really meant.

“I don’t want to eat breakfast on my own.  Can YOU feed me?”

Similarly, another technique used for not eating breakfast is…


*** now this is a technique used to switch MY attention from breakfast to HUG****

For the first few times, I fell for it. Don’t blame me. Every mom will usually fall for a HUG.

How can a mom not give her four-year-old a hug, when she asks for it so sweetly?

Then, one fine day, I realised, (after all she can’t make me dumb always, forever!)

So I changed my answer to,

“I will give you HUG once you finish your breakfast”.

The third technique to avoid breakfast is

“Can I sit on your lap?”  (how can I feed her while she is sitting on my lap!!)

I don’t know how she learns the tricks of the trade, which even I couldn’t think in my good olden days.

Now her dad was completely aware of her switching between I and you. So, he was in for a big surprise…

It reached its zenith when the following incident happened.

One day while I was having dinner, she wanted to go to the toilet. As I was eating, naturally her dad was supposed to help her with washing and cleaning.

As the younger is not so girly conscious about her body (she will think twice when asked if she is a boy or a girl), she doesn’t care who cleans her bum.

But what she asked her dad was an epic question “CAN I CLEAN YOUR BUM?”

I overheard this and burst into laughter. I could imagine him looking stunned at her question.

 There was pin-drop silence. It took maybe more than some minutes to register in my husband’s mind that she meant if HE could clean her bum and NOT the other way around.

I am sure he was terrified at the thought of her request if SHE could CLEAN HIS BUM.

Now we have decided to join her into Jr.Infants in elders school itself. As it starts in September, I have to prepare her mind, with the concept of going to BIG SCHOOL, just like her sister goes every day. There will be more discipline, no crying etc. etc

Now in pre-school, she will be wandering in class and loves her carers Denise, Katie and Lorraine.

One day while we three girls were together, I told Annu,

“When you go to the school (BIG) you should listen to Aadu. She is your elder sister. “

“NO…I won’t”, she answered promptly.

***Aadu and I were confused together ****

Then came the explanation…

“I will listen ONLY to Denise, Lorraine and Katie. NOT Aadu”

I could see Aadu, fuming at her answer.

Aadu: “Annu when mummy is not there, I am your guardian. OK? You MUST listen to me”.

OH MY GOD, HERE COMES THE POWER STRUGGLE between two women in our house…

Now the main power struggle is for the tablet (which is almost the size of a small TV). These girls don’t know typing, but with google voice search, they can find out videos they like. We have installed only YouTube for kids in it, no facebook, or nothing inappropriate. Also, it is in the dining room (which is also now their study room) so that I can see the screen from the kitchen.

Younger didn’t develop the art of manipulation yet. But my elder learned it. As she knows Annu manages to get everything by crying loudly, and thus melting daddy’s heart, she knows how to get what she wants by her manipulation skill.

Suppose if she wants to see “mini force”, and Annu wants “Peppa Pig”, Aaadu will lovingly tell Annu.

“Annu, what you really want to see it mini force, right ?”

***the poor girl will be confused ***

Again Aadu “Tell me, Annu, what you REALLY want to see is mini force

Annu will be confused that, Aadu isn’t angry or fighting but asking lovingly. She says “yes”. And now who won. Aadu. She manipulated Annu to change her wish, even without her knowing.

Sometimes we go to the kitchen and talk about this manipulation, by being nice. I am not sure if Aadu is doing it purposely or if she wants Annu also see what she wants without any crying.

I sometimes think severe politics is going on in my house between the two girls.

Now Aadu is a perfectionist. She cant accept herself that she is also prone to mistakes like everyone else. So when we sit together for doing homework, she will never take eraser. Erasers are for people who make mistakes. I cant make mistakes. That’s is her policy.

Her “I am perfect” attitude has caused a lot of problems for her and me. I have never uttered the word “perfect” to her, as I got ruined with my obsession towards perfection.

She is better at Maths and not so good in English. I haven’t tested her IQ or compared her with others. The only feedback I got was from her class teacher.

As she started talking after only after four years, I was very worried, but now she reached a point where she corrects my English yelling  in the middle of a supermarket, makes me feeling like “Is this the girl I was worried about being a late-talker?”

We have this question in our house when someone misbehaves like not eating, fighting for tablet etc. It is like this.

I: “who is the boss in this house ?”

Dad, Aadu, Annu: “Mommy.”

I: “so everyone should listen to whom?”

Chorus: “Mommy”

I: “if not, Mommy will become…?”

Chorus: “mad.”

I: “ so, don’t make Mommy mad “

Chorus: “YES”

 And thus again WE SURVIVE….

-Swathi Sasidharan

  1. Manoj M 2 years ago

    Very nice writing… and there are many things that we can learn from kids. especially how to manipulate others and get things done. This can be applied in our corporate world too.

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