Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"I know that you know that I know"

Smart kids can make you crazy. I remember when Tasha was really little a parent told me that I needed to challenge her and stimulate this highly active part of her brain. This was a well educated, mother of 5 with really intelligent kids. They also had all the money and resources that they needed to create the best atmosphere for any child to grow up in. This mother also makes me crazy and sometimes I don't do what she says out of spite. Of course, the statement still nags at me like my mother telling me to eat my vegetables but this is all just insight into things I know. Tasha loves to do "homework" like her sister, we started full-part-time preschool as soon as she was able, and we're doing gymnastics to wear her out physically. I've tried "teaching" her but it is so hit and miss if she will respond positively or not that I've abandoned most of my attempts (again, a little out of spite).

One of the things that makes me crazy about Tasha is when she shuts down and won't talk. Much of the time I think she is just being a little kid with frustrations that she can't verbalize. But there have been several times in the past month that I have caught her telling stories. (Doesn't "telling stories" sound so much better than lying?) Honestly, I actually saw the turning point in her life when she started to fabricate some of the details of an event. I joined in the fun and made her story so ridiculous that we both laughed at it. The problems come when I don't really know the whole story and/or can't figure out the facts. This is especially difficult when we are trying to house train a puppy and Tasha continually takes her outside, brings her in, and wants to give her a treat for doing her business in the grass and not on our carpet.

Somehow, when the tables are turned and I actually have the upper hand, Tasha still finds a way to torment me. I discovered this tonight when I was relating a typical Tasha moment to Bill. There are times when Tasha will be talking or asking me something and she will stop mid-sentence and get all shy or pitch a fit. The shy moments are usually if we are with someone and I assume she is embarrassed. The pitch-a-fit-moments are saved for our home and occasionally in front of grandparents. Either way, there is usually a battle, a whine, or something else just as irritatingly nerve wracking, stress-inducing, and tension creating. Such is my life as Tasha's mom.

Now for the clarifying moment. The moment in my conversation with Bill that I realized I can gain the upper hand once again. Why she stops mid-sentence. The A-HA moment... Because I am the mom, quite often I know what she is going to say before she says it. Apparently this irritates her. Wouldn't it irritate you? I imagine that it is most irritating when she is asking a question and I am answering no before she finishes her sentence. Even when I don't actually say the words, I'm either shaking my head or getting the look that means "not a chance is this going to happen". I feel really bad now that I really know what I'm doing to this poor girl. The problem is going to be holding back my responses until she completes her thought. It is going to be especially difficult to keep a straight face as I listen intently thinking "I know that you know that I know", all the while picturing Joey from Friends trying really hard to figure out what that actually means. (Tasha really hates when I smile because I know what she is going to say and she is smart enough to know that I know. Oooh, she is really going to be trouble as she gets older!)

So, dear Tasha, I now know that you have figured out that I can read your thoughts. I now know that this irritates you. I now know that your reaction to this irritation is to lash out on me and irritate me back. But now that I know I'm going to try really hard not to do it anymore, and if and when I do do it I'm not going to get irritated, just to irritate you back. I can play this game too and possibly act even more child-like than you. Because...

"I know that you know that I know!"


Crystal said...

This was really insightful to me with Derek! Wow, great detective sluething Helena! I'm excited to try it on Derek because I say no before he finishes his sentences and he reacts the same way as Tasha. AHA!!!!

H said...

Crystal, I was totally talking about what happened at your house when Tasha shut down. When you told me Derek did the same thing I had to wonder if there was something to it. Together maybe we will all figure out our children!