Thursday, April 3, 2008

High-Level Love Manipulation

This post is for my friend T, whose little boy is my absolute favorite boy ever on this earth, and always will be. I first laid eyes on this wonder when he was 3 months old, and I knew then (as I whispered in his ear) that "We are going to be really good friends, you and I." He is a very, very smart boy, and knows it-- a living example of why I tell my parents that the smarter your child is, the less leeway they can get. Give a smart kid an inch, and he will negotiate the entire football field.

The other night T and I were going out, and I came over to her house. As we started to leave, this wondrous little boy started his usual, "Momma, don't leave." Not surprising at all. He, like all children, want just a little more- a little more time with their parents, a little more time before bed, a little more candy, a little... more. We continued to leave, but then-- and here's where it gets good-- he began to say, "I love you, Momma. Please, give me a hug. Just one more hug." She gave him another hug, but then disengaged and started to leave. He followed us down the stairs, saying, "Let me give you one more kiss, because I looooove you, Mommy." Mommy. He never calls her Mommy-- it's always Momma. I almost started to laugh. We kept on going, and then he tried to follow us out the side door-- he would have, had I not blocked him and put him back inside.

He called out, opening the door (and it's a good thing he doesn't have shoes on and it's snowy) and leaning out, "Goodbye, Mommy! I Love You!! I Love You Mommy!!! I Love you Ilee (his nickname for me)!!" When we wouldn't answer he got louder and more insistent, " I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!" Finally, we collapsed into the car, and I started laughing. "Wow!" I said. This is really high level love manipulation. Brilliant, really. It's easy to say no if they want to stay awake, or have you get them some water, or want you to buy them something. How do you say no when they want you to LOVE them!!! I told T that I was really impressed that he'd figured this out at his age. I also told her I was impressed that she didn't get sucked in. It's hard to do, and she did a great job. She told me he does this all the time. I'm not surprised.


meanie said...

i tagged you in a meme! check it out at

Robin said...

I'm glad you are here doing this. This entry really helps me understand my son better. He is so intelligent, and he fits the profile of wanting just one more or a little more or whatever.

I hate to say I've been rather inconsistent with him, but I have. He's very good at arguing, and we can spin totally out of control if I don't take the bull by the horns. I love him, but I get so frustrated with him. I want a much more peaceful relationship with him. We've ended up in yelling matches that would make your hair curl. He's only 5. Unfortunately, he's just like me! :)

MeanMommyDoc said...

I totally understand where you are coming from, and I applaud your honesty in saying that you've been inconsistent. You;d be surprised at how many moms can't even be honest about that. The key to me is that you are arguing with your 5 year old. Big mistake. Big. Huge. Stop arguing. Stay calm. Tell him you are not going to argue with him, because what you say is what goes. Period. Until he believes that (which may take some time, since you've laid the grondwork for him to think otherwise), there will be lots of time outs. There may be lots of tears on his side, but you have to stay calm and not descend into the same childish behavior that you expect him to exhibit (he is a child, after all).