As I have mentioned many times, raising a 5-year-old girl appears to be a preview of raising a teenage girl. Frankly, this has come as a huge surprise to me. This may be because I was the perfect child and never even thought to question my parents’ authority. Seriously. I’m not sure what they did to scare the hell out of me, but I just didn’t talk back. Well, not until I was about 22, anyway.
Ava, on the other hand, seems to think we are equals. It comes across not only in the occasional (ha!) backtalk, but also in the sharing of my possessions. For instance, I bought a headband at Nordstrom a few weeks ago. I let Ava wear it to school one day, because honestly, she takes really good care of things, so I knew it would be okay. A week or so later, she asked to wear it again. I told her that I was thinking of wearing it that day. That was not okay with her. I told her, “Honey, sometimes you can borrow it, but it is my headband, and I’m wearing it today.” You know what she said? “It’s not just yours! It’s BOTH of ours.”
Needless to say, I wore the headband.
I’m pretty sure she also thinks she shares mothering duties with me when it comes to Davis. This, of course, can be quite helpful. But I’ll catch her telling him “no” in a very authoritative fashion, or doting on him in a sing-songy voice. And she’s sent him to time out on more than a few occasions. I’m sure he appreciates it.
Twice last week, Ava actually said, “Fine! Whatever!” to me. Clearly, this is not acceptable. The first time, she had a friend over. I think they were watching a movie. The snack requests wouldn’t stop, and I told them to wait a little while before having more snacks. Ava’s response? “Fine! Whatever!”
I had to pull her aside and have a little come-to-Jesus talk about that, but apparently, it had no effect, because I got the same response a few days later.
I’m not entirely sure of the best way to handle the teenage backtalk. We’ve tried time-outs, taking away privileges, taking away Emily (the beloved American Girl doll), but nothing seems to stop it. It’s as if she just can’t filter her words at all. And maybe that’s part of being a precocious 5-year-old. She just lacks judgement.
The one thing we haven’t tried is a behavior chart, so I think that’s up next. If anyone else has suggestions, I welcome them!
One more quick thing: when Ava’s friend was over last week, they were watching “The Wizard of Oz.” Ava’s friend had been at our house a few weeks back. So she said to me, “Why didn’t you tell me you had this movie when I was here before?” And a few minutes later she asked, “Why don’t you have a Dorothy costume for me to wear while I watch this?”
Now, this is a sweet, sweet little girl. But I was a little taken aback by the questions. And happy to think that despite Ava’s cheekiness with her daddy and me, she exercises total restraint when talking to other adults.