Sunday, October 29, 2006

Happy Birthday, Maylin!

My little girl turned four on Friday. And she has certainly proven this week that she is becoming a big girl. Maylin is a girl who knows what she wants. She told me exactly how she wanted her birthday. No friends -- just Mommy and Daddy. Earlier, she said she didn't want any presents either, but on Friday, she eagerly received her Mulan DVD and drum with drumsticks.

And just this week, she made a leap into the world of lying. Her first lie, on Monday I believe, was motivated by a strong need for dessert. We usually have this deal going where if she eats a peanut butter sandwich, she's allowed a chocolate sandwich afterwards (Nutella, actually, which is basically a smooth chocolate-hazelnut sauce). Her peanut butter sandwich disappeared faster than usual, but I didn't suspect anything when she proudly said that she had finished the sandwich and was ready for the chocolate one. About ten minutes later, after she had finished her sweet treat, I found the remains of a peanut butter sandwich in the bathroom wastebasket.

I think I came across a little too strong initially -- demanding if she knew that what she did was wrong. I wasn't yelling, but she could certainly hear the urgency in my voice. I wanted to know if she knew she had done two bad things -- lying and wasting food. Maylin nodded in the affirmative and then burst into tears in shame and went into her room. Shortly afterward, she came out completely calm -- no more crying, just damp cheeks. She said oh so sweetly, "I'm sorry, Mommy. I didn't mean to." I just melted in her sweetness. I was relieved that she realized she had made a mistake. We had a little discussion about why telling the truth was important and why it was bad to throw out food (especially when Mommy or the dog Leo could have finished it). She seemed to understand the lesson, so I thought it was all resolved. She wasn't going to lie again, right?

Except on Wednesday, after making Maylin's requested alphabet letter soup (Monoprix sells pasta letters now -- great for preschoolers) and my own lunch, I returned to the dining table and discovered that her soup bowl was missing! She wouldn't tell me where she put it so I began searching the rooms. We came to a standoff in my bedroom -- Maylin's arms outstretched, blocking the path to John's side of the bed. I wasn't in the mood to argue so I just settled on the bed and started reading a novel. I told her I would wait for her to show me the location of her bowl. She started crying. Maylin stayed a bit and when she realized I wasn't going to be doing any comforting, she gave up and eventually went to her room to finish her bawling. I resumed my quest for the bowl. On the floor, behind an old computer monitor that John wants to sell on eBay, I recovered the missing pasta and soup -- fortunately, completely intact (no soup or pasta outside of the bowl on the floor). This time, Maylin was able to remove her unwanted meal without lying, and without throwing food away. So, did she really do anything bad? Or is this just a sign of brilliance?

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