“I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy to be told instead that she has leadership skills.” – Sheryl Sandberg
I’m sure most people have seen this quote by now. I even posted it on my own Facebook page because it was something we are definitely facing at home right now and it helps me to reframe my thinking a little bit about our dear Little Tyrant.
Emmie literally tells me what to do nearly every 5 seconds. Sometimes more often. I am informed to “Sit, Mama,” Eat, Mama,” “Cook, Mama,” “Up, Mama,” and my recent favorite “No talking” when I dared to have a conversation with an adult friend. (I secretly did love it because it was the first and only time she’s used -ing!).
If she is hungry, she wants me to make her oatmeal that instant. I turn to make the oatmeal, and as soon as I take one step into the kitchen, she needs water. I fetch the water (because her voice is quickly rising, she is so desperately parched), and as soon as I turn to get water, I am scolded for not making the oatmeal quickly enough. I truly feel like Cinderella without all the perks.
I am instructed on where to sit at each moment, and heaven help me if I accidentally lean against one of the three random pillows she has decided are hers. “Emmie pi-po!” she will cry, and possibly reach out a tiny hand to smack my offending body part off her precious pillow.
I do try to exert some of my own free will, but I definitely have to pick my battles. Sometimes she will accept my resistance with calm dignity, knowing she will win another victory soon, but other times it is a matter of critical importance that I sit on THIS stair step, not the one directly below. Sometimes I am just tired of getting up and moving another 5 feet (for the third time) to read two more sentences of the same book we were in the middle of reading.
One of Emmie’s favorite books right now is “Boss Baby.” It is an excellent, very funny book that I highly recommend to all parents of babies, but it especially suits Emmie now.
Even as I try to teach Emmie some manners as she makes her demands (“Up, please“), I try to remember that what we call bossiness in little girls is often called something else in little boys. I don’t think anyone benefits from ordering others around constantly, but I do see skills that Emmie has that would be huge assets to her when she is an adult.
Her negotiating is second to none. She never asks, she just tells you what she wants. “We are going to read one book tonight.” Her response? “Two.” No pleading, no begging, she just states how it’s going to be. If the bargaining partner is a newbie, this always lets her get her way. (We’ve compromised with reading one book and putting one in her crib, if she’s getting to bed late).
We were looking at pictures of planes in one of her books and she pointed to one and said “Emmie plane.” (In Emmie-speak, this means “I hereby claim this as my own”). I pointed to the executive jet and asked her if she was going to have one of those when she was a CEO. She said yes.
If you ask her who the boss is, she will say “Emmie. Emmie boss baby.”
With your attention to detail, high standards and leadership skills, I have no doubt you will be, baby.