We had a great spring break. I decided that I couldn't handle being talked back to any more, so I thought that all this quality togetherness was the perfect time to crack down on the snarkiness being thrown my way every moment of every day by her highness. Seriously: it is one thing make it your mission in life that your child does not grow up to be a rude adult who can live and relate in the world in a way that does not make others want to slap her, but there is also something to be said for teaching this child that people have a limit for how much of her bullshit they will take. That people have self respect and will not allow themselves to be treated like crap. That I am The Mother, and I have ultimate power over the TV and Wii remotes, and I can make your life a living hell if I see fit by making you eat things you don't want to eat. (Actually, that last one isn't true. She pukes at the table if I make her taste something weird, like a hot dog.)
So I took away her screen privileges for the weekend, but I caved when her uncle came over to hang out and they wanted to play Wii together. So I suspended her screen privileges for two more days, and I thought I was making a dent. I also started charging her a quarter from her piggy bank every time she mouthed off, and I was making a killing, but she's the kind of kid that will look at me defiantly and go "25 cents? Lets make it 50!" What ended up working the best was telling her (after we spent the day in the snow with my mom) that "Grandma has noticed that your attitude sucks." That's all I had to say, and suddenly she was happy and grateful and loving. Like herself, only nicer.
Daddy got a couple of, "thank you so much for taking me to the Exploratorium, I had the best day, and you're the best dad in the whole world" I got "you're the best mom for taking me to the zoo, and I love you so much!" and she stopped asking me to watch TV 30 seconds after she opened her eyes in the morning, and she actually thanked me for making her "delicious" brown rice, and I have to say, it was DELIGHTFUL.
Why is it that, even though I am the main authority figure in her life, the threat of Grandma thinking she's a stinker is the thing that makes her turn the corner? When she was little, we used to tell her that The Manager of, y'know, the zoo or the bowling alley, or the airplane, said that whatever shitty thing she was doing was against the rules, and she would straighten right up. But I have to yell and scream and bust a poop string to get her to put her pajamas away without her shooting poison darts at me from her eyeballs. What do anonymous, invisible, and sometimes non-existent authority figures have that I don't have? This is a rhetorical question, but if I only had some of the magic that The Manager of every single restaurant she's ever been to has, I'd be in business.