Monday, May 3, 2010

Two-Year Old Mentality

Yesterday I was cleaning up the yard when I looked over and saw my two-year old daughter in horse-stance, bent over staring between her legs.
“Ummm, what are you doing honey?” I asked.
“Peeing,” she replied.
“Why are you peeing outside in your pants?” I asked, trying to keep my budding hysteria at bay.
“Because I want to,” she told me.

Sigh. My daughter may be two (turning three at the end of this month), but she surely knows what she wants.

Me: “Why did you pull the leaves off my plant?”
Her: “Because I want to.”

Me: “Did you color on mommy’s couch with a pen?”
Her: “Yes.”
Me: “Why?”
Her: “Because I want to.”

Me: “Hey! What are you DOING?”
Her: “I licked it.”
Me: “That’s a dishwasher tablet! We do NOT lick dishwasher tablets!”
Her: “But I want to.”

The controlling mom in me (and that structured teacher persona) wants to get level with her tiny, pudgy, face and expound on the reasons that we can’t just do what we want in life; how there are rules to follow, social mores that govern behavior; that acting impulsively only leads to bad decisions and consequences. In lucid moments I realize I’m the one with the problem since I keep expecting her to answer with adult mentality. Something like, “You know mother, I was licking the dishwasher tablet because that round red ball in the middle looks strikingly similar to the Tootsie pops I love so much, but you know what? It doesn’t taste anything like them. You’re right for sure; I need to stay away from the cabinet under the sink. It’s surely a danger for me and full of toxic chemicals that could make my yittl tummy sick. Thanks for having my back mom. You’re the best.”

Well, controlling moms can dream. Clearly she’s all id and I’m all superego. At least one of us is playing on age-appropriate ground. You would think that with a degree in Elementary Education, not to mention the fact that she’s my third child, I would have learned that her excuse, “Because I want to,” is less a reflection of her father’s personality than an age-appropriate response. That’s as deep as it goes folks.

When I’m sitting alone in the living room, sipping my morning coffee as she sleeps, (and my mometer is off and I’m just a normal coffee-swilling woman) I concede there is something beautiful about her response regarding her motives. Something simple and pure. “Because I want to” couldn’t be more honest. Can you imagine a society where honesty like this was the norm?

“Mr. Madoff, why did you scam billions of dollars from thousands of unsuspecting investors?”
Madoff: “Because I wanted to.”

I suppose it might turn the law profession on it’s head.

But would an excuse like my daughter’s work in my family? Could I employ it with my husband and other children?

Husband, “Honey, why did you spend $400.00 at Pier One for outdoor furniture when we are putting groceries on the credit card?”
Me: “Because I wanted to.”

Son: “Mom, can I play Wii?”
Me: “No, I sold it and bought some organic manure for the garden.”
Son: “WHY!!??”
Me: “Because I wanted to.”

Older Daughter: “Mom, what’s for dinner?”
Me: “Nothing. I’m reading my novel tonight instead.”
Daughter: “What? Why?”
Me: “Because I want to.”

Husband: “Why are you drinking five glasses of red wine on a Wednesday night?”
Me: “Because I want to.”

Hmmmm. My two-year old may be onto something.


Sustainable Eats said...

Love this - I may put it to use immediately. :)

Anjuli said...

You had me laughing so hard at your fictitious conversations- I loved the Madoff one the most- wouldn't that be a head turning if he said that!!

Great blog! I've enjoyed going back over your former posts ...cheering you on in this Blogathon!! We can do it!! :)

BIKE LADY said...

Such a true statement. Love the stories about your two-year-old and that you can record them in a blog so you won't ever forget them. That should be inspiring to other parents who haven't thought to do this yet.

violetismycolor said...

Hi Rachel, thanks for the comment on my post yesterday. You mentioned that you are a Catholic. I was raised one but am not anymore. I even have a brother who is a priest! He's in a very conservative order called the Legionaires of Christ, who just got in trouble with the Pope. He is one of those people who has always been so SURE of himself and that he is RIGHT about all of his beliefs/thoughts. And that has always ticked me off. Now that he is being forced to re-think all of his assumptions, I am hoping that we can have a real dialog with each other again, realizing that we are both pretty fallable human beings. When I was listening to that sermon yesterday, he was one of the people that I was thinking of...the ones that I expected perfection of because they professed some sort of perfect beliefs. I am now grieving for the hard times that he is going through while his order is being 're-constituted' and he has to decide again which way to move forward with his life.

Thanks, again, for your kind remarks.


Elaina said...

You crack me up! And thank you for suggesting that I do the post every day blogathon, but I have to tell you, I'm not going to do it. Why? I don't want to. :D

(also, a note to Bike Lady, and shameless self-promotion... please check out, a site my husband and I started to help parents track the great things their kids say and do. It's perfect for non-bloggers, or bloggers like me who generally don't share much personal info with the public)

Joy said...

Love it! I'm not at the two-year old stage yet, but already my son is showing me his, erm, preferences, more clearly. I'm psyched you're doing the blogathon and can't wait to read more of your blog.

Caroline Clemmons said...

You have a great sense of humor. I loved this post.

Sue Dickman said...

This totally cracked me up, and, at least in my head, I'm going to say, "Because I wanted to," if anyone questions my motives about, well, anything!