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Maggie Koerth-Baker @maggiekb1
, 14 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
My babies were born in the Midwest. They have spent basically their entire lives here. Tonight, this night, is the night they truly became Midwestern.

Like a bat mitzvah, but they're 3 and 5 and Norwegian.

It began with me telling the Little One "No". A grave crime ...
The Little One is 3. She likes tutus, fairy wings, and screaming "Fastball Special!" while flinging herself off the back of the couch.

Dislikes include: The "B" word*; any food that is not bread, "milky", or fruit; and being told "No".
* Baby.
Sorry. I know it's a really offensive slur in the three-year-old community.
Here is what happens when you tell the Little One "No".
First, she sticks her bottom lip out while glaring at you.
Second, the lip begins to wobble.
Then, she bursts into tears. Imagine how you would cry if masked men were dragging your family off into the night.
To be clear, I am a Good Mom (TM) who does not negotiate with emotional terrorists. But she's 3, and she hasn't yet figured out that we are trying to build character here, not punish her for supporting a recently deposed member of the Politburo. So, here we go.
Tonight, I let her and Punch Girl (who is 5) make their own dinners. They dutifully prepared plates of toddler tapas: Exactly three dried apricots, a handful of garbanzo beans, a bowl with a scoop of peanut butter in it, a pile of frozen corn, a slice of cheddar cheese.
This is really Punch Girl's dinner. But once she announces her plans they become Little One's plans, as well. So two plates, exactly the same.

Punch Girl eats everything. Little One eats two bites of everything and wanders off. Later, Punch Girl returns for toast.

Oh, shit.
Little One watches Punch Girl make toast and declares herself to be starving. I politely suggest she finish dinner. That is not what she had in mind.

This is where the crying happens.

It is also the moment my children discovered their powers.
So a tantrum is happening. And Punch Girl does this beautiful thing she's been doing a lot lately, where she empathizes with other humans and tries to help them out. "Oh, Mommy. Little One is so sad," she says. "I'm gonna give her some toast."
What if empathy, but too much and poorly timed?
Me: "No. Please don't give her toast. She needs to finish her dinner first."
Punch Girl: "But she's CRYING."
Me: "I know. But she needs to learn that the rules don't change because you cry."
Punch Girl: "Can I tell her something kind?"

Look at this kid. She's so great.
And then this happens ...

Punch Girl: "Little One? I'm sorry you're sad. I think Mommy should give you some toast."

And then, I shit you not, they both turn their heads to look at me in unison, like I've raised them in a cornfield. And they stare me dead in the eyes.
Silence. They look at me. I look at them.

My children joined together to weaponize kindness in a passive-aggressive stare down over food. I may as well give them the family hotdish recipes & send them into the world. I have nothing left to teach them.
Also, she didn't get the fucking toast.

The End.
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