Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A teenager in a toddler's body

Last night, I decided that is who I have living in my house. Here's the story:

Brent's mom is here helping with painting and other things to get our house ready to sell. We got Samantha into bed and then I went into the bathroom. Samantha came to the gate in her doorway and started saying something to me...I don't remember what anymore and it doesn't really matter to the rest of the story.

I told her that I am in the bathroom and she needs to get back in bed. She said something else. Memaw told her that I was in the bathroom, she needed to get back in bed, and that I would come to her once I was out of the bathroom.

Samantha said either "You not talking me" or "I not talking me", I can't remember which. Either way, I was shocked. Surely I didn't hear what I thought I just heard. I asked her what she just said and she told me "I not talking her."

It's a good thing I was still in the bathroom, because it gave me a moment to take a breath and handle this calmly. TWO year old just told her Memaw that she isn't talking to her rather than obeying the instruction she was given?!

Where did she learn such sass and disrespect? To say I was shocked is putting it mildly. As soon as I got out of the bathroom, I went to Samantha's room and talked to her about this. I told her that she was very rude to Memaw. That she was disrespectful. That what she said was NOT good manners. I also told her that she must obey Memaw, just like she must obey Mommy and Daddy. I told her that she needed to apologize to Memaw.

She went over to Memaw and just squatted down in front of her. Then I realized she probably doesn't know what the word apologize means, so I told her to tell Memaw she is sorry. Which she did immediately without any more prodding. So I think she understands now that she cannot say things like that.

I wonder, though, did she realize what her words meant? She used them in context, so I tend to think so. But at the same time, did she intend to be disrespectful? Or was she just repeating something that she heard on TV? (man oh man, one of the things that I am MOST looking forward to about being home is to be able to know EXACTLY what she sees on TV...and to drastically reduce the amount she is allowed to watch.) Did she just think that by saying that she was telling Memaw that she wants her Mommy? Or did she really mean it disrespectfully?

I am SOOO hoping...but NOT holding my breath about it...that she was just repeating something she heard and didn't intend the disrespect. Because if she knew exactly what she was saying, we may have an even rockier and longer road ahead of us than I had previously imagined.

What do you think?

Has your child ever said something like that, at a much earlier age than you would have expected, and made you wonder if they knew what they were saying?

How would you handle it?


NatCh said...

Not my area of expertise, obviously, but I tend to think she knew what she was saying but not that it was rude or disrespectful.

I think this for two reasons, the first that she apologized readily once she had it explained to her, but mostly because from your reaction, she's done nothing remotely like this in the past.

It seems to me that if she was intending to be rude, the intent would have surfaced before this in a less significant fashion.

I suspect that she wanted to convey that she really wanted to talk to you not to her Memaw, and used a phrase she'd heard in that sort of context. That's the way kids seem to work in trying out new language, in my, admittedly limited, experience. (shrug)

Just my 2¢, might actually be
worth about that too. :)

Christy said...

Thank you, Nathan. My mom called last night and said basically the same thing. That she did not intend disrespect but was just trying to say that she wanted to talk to her mommy. So with both of you seeing it that way, I think I can safely go "phew!" I am so glad that it was not a major disrespect issue :)