The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

July 26, 2013

How to properly argue with a toddler

Do you remember the game show “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” It featured adults answering questions that a “typical” fifth grader would know.

Usually the “typical” fifth-grader was on the way to being a Rhodes Scholar in some categories, making the contestants feel inadequate.

Lately, around my house, I may have discovered a new concept for a game show — “Are you arguing with a 3-year-old?”

The basic premise would be for the host to present a situation to an adult and have him or her try to win an argument with a 3-year-old. In the end, their intelligence would be no match for the supreme confidence of a toddler.

One month ago today, my daughter officially became a big sister. That distinction has made her “the boss” and a “genius” in her own mind.

If we need a burp rag, she’s on it. If we need an extra hand on burping, she’s slapping away. If we need a glass of water, she’s lightning fast with a plastic cup.

But those added responsibilities may be going to her head.

Regular readers of my column know about the recent struggles that bed time has caused. It’s gotten better, but just the other night, I was attempting to wrangle her down to brush her teeth and go to the bathroom one last time before bed.

In my attempts to pry her away from her brother, she scoffed at my feeble grabs, officially declaring herself as the head of the household.

“I make the rules around here and you need to brush your teeth,” I said, trying to pull her away from the recliner.

“But Dad, I’m the boss,” she said, not cracking a smile.

That’s interesting. I knew that I didn’t pull much weight around the house anymore, but in her mind, she’s taken over. Luckily I have my wife, who still pulls a little rank around the home, and she reminded my daughter that she wasn’t the boss.

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