It's something that I'm often saying mostly for Evyn's benefit, when she's whimpering in time out or has a favorite toy taken away from her.
So when I was in a hurry to get Evyn to school and got pulled over by the police right. in front. of her school parking lot, I looked at it as an opportunity. Yeah, a DERN EXPENSIVE and EMBARRASSING opportunity.
I had a good chuckle as I took the girls to the courthouse to pay my fines.
E: "Where are we going, Mommy?"
Me: "Remember when I got pulled over for speeding and I got a ticket? Mommy made a bad choice and now I have to pay money."
E: "You were going too fast and now you have to pay money?"
Me: "Yes, Baby."
E: "Are you going too fast NOW?"
I looked down at my speedometer, and, actually, I was going a little fast. I swear, four year olds are like your conscience out loud.
Later, though, this whole ticket thing became a useful analogy. When Evyn copped a teenage-sized attitude, stomping and slamming her door and yelling something about HER room.
Fifteen solid minutes and a hammer later, said door was perched on the wall across her room. Evyn values her space and her privacy. And she was horrified to be without her door.
I reminded her that bad choices have consequences; that I wouldn't let a four year old be without them, just as I wasn't without consequences for my own behavior ("remember when Mommy had to pay money for breaking the law?").
There are days when I'm at my wit's end with her, exasperated by the fact that she's only four and has the verbal capacity of an entire debate team. Someone please tell me this will get easier. That there is something I can do to head this off at the pass. She has a bright, sparkling, witty, dramatic – beautiful – personality and I love her so much that I worry a bit that it will all be eclipsed by this dark attitude that sometimes comes from nowhere.
I'm just sure there is something I should be doing better…