10 Ways I'm Being Manipulated By An Evil Genius. (A.k.a A Toddler)

One of my very best girlfriends is also my go-to been-there-done-that mom. Her youngest is just months older than Ollie, so she's always either warning me about what's to come or letting me know my crazy kid is normal, and not to stress out. This morning she sent me an email about how her evil genius managed to manipulate her last night, she wrote:

"He (her three year old) was riding his little four wheeler that he's had since he was little. So he leaves it on the other side of the yard gets off and walks towards me wanting to do something else. I told him we weren't doing anything until he brought the four wheeler back to the porch. He then tells me that he cannot. I suggested that he listen or we weren't going to play. He stomps over to the four wheeler with an attitude gets on pretends like he's going to drive it and then looks at me and he says, "I can't. It has a flat tire." Well that's strange. The tires are plastic. So I walked over I pretend like I put air in it real quick and he looks at me and says thanks, and then rides it over to the porch." 

I couldn't stop laughing! I would have been over there filling up the plastic tire like a pit crew BOSS. Those little evil geniuses are manipulation maestros. In honor of Top 10 Tuesday, I though I would list the top 10, of the four-million waysI'm Being Manipulated By An Evil Genius. (A.k.a A Toddler)

1. The bedtime ballad.  Bedtime is a well orchestrated symphony of whining, questions, potty breaks and "Whoops, I forgot I need".  Every night we go through the same routine.  He's learned saying the following: I need water, I need a cuddle, I need to go potty, I need Mr. Owl/Mr. Penguin/Mr Giraffe/ My blanket and a few other assorted "must have" demands, always elicit the response he wants, stalled Bedtime.

2. Tears of trickery. My kid can cry on cue. I mean tears, wailing, mouth wide open devastated look on his face. While his Oscar worthy performance is commendable, it's also annoying as sh!t. He's learned the right amount of whining, wailing and whoa-is-me will sometimes turn the table in his favor. I'm convinced for 'sh!ts and giggles' he tries it every time he doesn't get his way just to see if it'll work.

3. Careful Culinary Curation. God forbid his sandwich is cut wrong, his orange is not perfectly peeled or his milk is not poured in his "big boy lego" cup. My toddler has a clear idea of how his food and drink should be served, and when those expectations are not met, his vocal disgust with me and his butchered food reserve me a top spot on the daily #AssholeParent list.

4. The dance of the dying. Somewhere around two and a half, my toddler learned that flailing on the floor during a temper tantrum really did hurt him more than it hurt me. Now, he does this strange stomping dance that looks like a mix between a drunk tap dance and the river dance on hot coals. Pair that with the screaming protests and you've got the dance of the dying toddler. This dance, when executed with fierce furry in public, has led to me caving-in just to save myself and all who watch from blown ear drums and nightmares. 

5. Toilet treason. "I have to use the potty!" Is the universal toddler get out of jail free card.  My kid picked-up very quickly on this one. I spent a quarter of my child's second year playing into toilet treason.  #EpicFail

6. Independence insistence. "I do it myself!" is the universal toddler 'Annoy my Parents card.' Of course as parents we all want our children to be strong, independent and do well for themselves... just not when we are running late and they want to put their bloody sock on by themselves for THE FIRST BLOODY TIME!!!  Still, we let them. We sit by, biting our tongues and watching as the sweet child attempts repeatedly to get more than get his big into the sock...FOUR THOUSAND FLIPPING TIMES! Yes, Independent insistence is one of the most annoying manipulation tactics of all.

7. The ole' run around. I hate myself for the number of times I have had to break into a full sprint in public to catch my toddler, who for the last minute has been laughing hysterically while out running me.  Once he knows he's in trouble, and there's no getting out of it, he decides: Screw it, if she wants me she'll have to catch my ass. Damn. Damn. Damn. The ole' run around! 

8. Favorable forgetfulness.  I am convinced my child should be studied for his exceptional ability for selective hearing and memory.  He is exceptional at forgetting or not hearing something I JUST told to him, and then acting confused and incredibly hurt that he seemed to have missed that piece of information... (See Below for stellar example)

ONE MINUTE! I took my eyes off my three-year-old for one minute.

Me: BUDDY! What are you doing? 
Ollie: It's my new super racetrack!
Me: Honey, we don't make race tracks out of mommy's aluminum foil.
Ollie: Is that this?

9. The tiptoe tap: I'm pretty sure my toddler's main claim to fame amongst our family and friends is his ability to do the tip toe tap with such abandon yet delicate elegance. There is not a line, boundary, or rule that I have set that my toddler has not tested. And nine times out of ten, it includes his toe slowly but surely tiptoe-tapping to the line. He thinks he's sneaky. He thinks he's sly. He thinks the tip toetap dance is well worth his two minute penance in time-out. 

10. Cunning cuteness. The overflowing of cunning cuteness is the worst manipulation tactic of all.  He's known since he was 2 months old, his sweet smile and adorableness will trump all. A simple smile followed by an I'm sorry, mommy, melts my heart. Of course, to keep things interesting, he only pulls that card when he's in BIG trouble. For all else, he just acts cute in a cheeky sneaky sort of way.

For example: Yesterday when Ollie was being naughty and would not stop and listen. I said, "Ollie!  Look at me!"  He turns his head, smiles and says, "CHEESE!" #EpicFail Of course I laughed, and had to explain that I wasn't taking the picture. Instantly, the kid is out of trouble, and I'm the one apologizing! 

Damn those little evil geniuses! 

How does your toddler manipulate you?

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com