The Age of Manipulation

Posted on | January 31, 2012 | 7 Comments

People tell me that my child isn’t old enough to be manipulative and to those people, I laugh.  Because if it is nothing else, two is most definitely the age of manipulation. Whether it is finding a way to weasel ten more minutes of play time or working out a whine and cry for five more pages of Winnie the Pooh, my child is, quite frankly, a masterful manipulator. 

I try to stick to a 7:30 bedtime.  It’s hard because on some days we don’t get home until almost 6:30, but we do the best we can.  If it means no bath, then we eliminate bath time in favor of a traditional bed time.  Last night, he begged to watch a movie and I caved so we were watching “Up” until almost 8pm.  As soon as it was over, I hustled him to bed and gave him books and a goodnight kiss. 

Let me interject two important points… 1) my child is not potty trained and has almost zero interest in actually being potty trained and 2) my child HATES brushing his teeth.  These are important things which I should have remembered last night.

He climbs into bed and as I go to leave the room, he announces that he needs to brush his teeth.  My internal “WHA?” goes off but who am I to tell him he can’t brush his teeth if he wants.  So he climbs out of bed and we go brush his teeth.  Then it’s back to bed, another kiss, another stack of books.  Inexplicably, he announces that he needs to pee pee in the potty.

Okay… so I realized at this point that he was stalling… but how do you tell your kid that no, he can’t go pee pee in the potty because you know he’s just trying to get out of bedtime?  So it was back to the bathroom, unzip the footed pjs, undo the diaper and let him plop down on the toilet.  He then proceeded to sit there for a good ten minutes, singing songs and telling me that he was not yet ready to pee pee.

Finally, he announced happily that he was “all done” and stood up.  Still no pee.  I asked him if he still needed to pee pee in the potty and he said “No, I just like to keep it inside right now.  I go later in my diaper.”

By that time, it was 8:30 and I was probably more tired than he was.  When I left the room for the third time, he began to cry; a fake, pitiful little “woe is me” cry that was as hilarious as it was pitiful.  Ultimately, I had to decide which was worse, lying down with him so he’d be quiet and actually go to sleep, or stay up and listen to the racket.  I tried to be strong.  I waited as long as I could.  But when he started sniffling and saying “I love you Mommy, pwease? Pwease come snuggle? I need a hug,” I totally caved.  I laid down with him and he was instantly happy. 

I got schooled by my two year old.

So yeah… keep your opinion that two is too young to be manipulative to yourself.  My kid has got that skill down pat.


**On a totally different note, I’m now a contributor at Liberating Working Moms.  Check out my very first post today on dropping the cross and using my hands for something more productive… **


7 Responses to “The Age of Manipulation”

  1. Heather Griffitts Clark
    January 31st, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    Believe me when I tell you it only gets worse. We’re actively potty training my daughter and she will wait until after she’s in bed to try those same two things: teeth brushing and potty!

  2. rynerman
    January 31st, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    Oh 2 is definitely old enough to manipulate! I clearly remember the days just after my son was potty trained. He would sit on the toilet forever at bedtime or get out of bed to “use the potty” 5x knowing full well we weren’t going to tell him he couldn’t. You are in a total bind when they are first potty trained. On the one hand, you want them to use the potty. On the other hand, it makes an excellent bedtime stalling tactic. Am not looking forward to going through that again with my daughter.

  3. Cayleyrice
    January 31st, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    Me: Things on mama’s nightstand/dad’s desk/mama’s bag aren’t for Perpetual Motion Machine to play with. Please don’t touch.
    Her: (silently grabs my hand and uses it to reach on nightstand/desk/bag for object of interest)
    Me: hehehehe (I know I shouldn’t encourage, but how do you not laugh at stuff like that?)
    2 is definitely old enough to creatively adapt rules and to be manipulative.

  4. Anonymous
    January 31st, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    LMAO!!!! That is priceless. LOVE.

  5. Danita M
    January 31st, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

    Two is just the BEGINNING of the manipulation! They have acquired language skills and will use them. It doesn’t help that the little devils are exceedingly CUTE during said manipulation. Be afraid. Be very afraid

  6. Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments
    February 1st, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    Oh yes – the manipulation super power. Always the strongest at bedtime!

  7. ARC
    February 1st, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

    this sounds exactly like what goes on at our house. Heh. Good thing they’re so freakin’ cute.

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